Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST)

Learning outcomes for Zambia are low. Over 80% of children are unable to read and write at the end of their first year of learning, Grade 5 learners score below 40% in national assessments, and Zambia has one of the highest pupil-teacher ratios in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST) programme, funded by the Scottish Government, is contributing to improved quality of teaching and learning experiences for children in primary schools in Zambia’s Central Province. It will create and implement a scalable, school-based teacher development programme (SBTDP).

The training programme is being co-designed with Zambian teachers, building on existing practice and supporting an active, learner-centred approach to teaching which will improve learning outcomes in Zambia. It will draw on a range of freely-available open educational resources (OER) including TESSA Zambia. The programme will be piloted with up to 600 teachers in Central Province in years 1-3 to
develop a scalable model that can be rolled out across the rest of the province and the wider country in years 4-5, eventually reaching over 4,000 teachers.

The project will also trial innovations to bring TPD to those without internet access, such as a technology called ‘Do-It-Yourself networking’. This kit combines offline wireless technology, low-cost hardware (such as Raspberry Pi), and open source software applications for building local networks known as community wireless networks. The low-cost toolkit will at first be loaded with the TESSA Open Educational Resources, a shared area for teachers to share their own resources and best practice, and a collaborative writing pad to enable joint working and knowledge sharing. If the trial is successful, the OU is looking to expand to hundreds of schools, and develop Badged Open Courses using offline Moodle to allow this previously unreached group to access high-quality TPD.