—-Government has allocated K113.4 million towards the procurement of educational materials and equipment to be used in the successful implementation of the new curriculum.
This came to light when Education, Science, Vocational, Training and Early Education Minister, John Phiri, launched the long-awaited revised Zambia Education Curriculum at Munali Secondary School in Lusaka today.
Dr Phiri said the colossal amounts of money allocated to the rolling-out of the new revised education curriculum is testimony enough to show government’s commitment in improving the quality of education in Zambia.
The Education Minister said the launch of the new revised Zambia education curriculum is the fulfilment of the campaign promise the Patriotic Front (PF) made to the people of Zambia prior to assuming power of improving the quality and relevance of education in the country.
He observed that over 49 years of Zambia’s Independence the citizenry have consistently expressed dissatisfaction with the education given to the Zambian child under the old curriculum.
Dr Phiri stated that educationists argued that the recently phased out education curriculum was dominantly an examination curriculum and used an alien language as a medium of instruction in the early grades.
Educationists further argued that the old curriculum did not take into consideration the emerging changes in terms of technology and social development issues such as ICT, life skills, sexuality education and entrepreneurship.
He lamented that the Zambian education system does not provide learners with the education they deserve, resulting in many learners lacking knowledge, skills, and writing competence.
Dr Phiri disclosed that the learning achievements among the pupils in all subjects is very low compared to other countries in the sub region, hence the decision by his ministry to comprehensively review the school curriculum.
The minister of education said the comprehensive review of the school curriculum is in line with the PF party manifesto which seeks to re-orient the curriculum at all the levels of education with emphasis on life skills.
And in spelling out the road map for the successful implementation of the newly revised school curriculum, Dr Phiri said the implementation programme will be done in phases.
In January, this year, the first grades under early childhood education to use the new revised school curriculum are Grades, 1, 5, 8 and 10.
He disclosed that other grades to follow suit in 2015 include 2, 6,9,11 and adult literacy. In 2016 grades 3, 7 and 12 will follow suit.
Dr Phiri said the last grade to implement the new curriculum will be grade 4 in 2017.
He further stressed that the first examination based on the new curriculum will be administered at grade 9 in 2015 followed by grades 7 and 12 examinations in 2016.
Meanwhile the education minister has implored both public and private institutions to comply with the new revised school curriculum.
Dr Phiri revealed that the curriculum has been standardized as all early childhood education centres will use one curriculum which has been developed by the ministry.
The minister said the use of the national curriculum is meant to provide uniform early childhood education to all learners in the different parts of the country.
He explained that the new early childhood curriculum has been linked to grade 1 in order to help pupils transit into primary school easily.
He said the medium of instruction at early childhood level will be in local language in any given particular locality, adding that more time will be devoted to social interaction through play activities which constitute 60 per cent while academic activities will constitute 40 percent.
At primary school level, medium of instruction from grades 1to 4 will be one of the official local languages while English shall be taught as a subject beginning at grade 2.
Furth the medium of instruction from grade 5 upwards shall be English.
International and private schools catering for non-Zambians will be exempted from using local language as a medium of instruction with permission from the Permanent Secretary.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been introduced in the primary school curriculum in bid to create awareness among primary school learners.
Also sign language and Braille have been introduced in the curriculum so as to serve learners with special educational needs.
At secondary level, two path ways have been created in the curriculum which include academic and vocational.
Dr Phiri explained that under academic pathway learners with passion for academic subjects will be allowed to pursue desires of their careers.
The minister said all senior technical secondary schools, national and regional will offer academic path with emphasis on mathematics and pure sciences.
Dr Phiri said under vocational pathway learners with ambitions and interests in technical and other hands on subjects will be at liberty to pursue.
He noted that the curriculum provides practical skills to learners starting from grade 8 to 12, adding that schools shall closely collaborate with Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA).
Dr Phiri explained that learners studying vocational curriculum will be awarded certificates at grade 9 and 12 by the Examinations Council of Zambia.
Learners will be award trade certificates in Bricklaying, Plastering, Metal Fabrication, Electrical Engineering, Home Management, Food Production, Carpentry and Joinery.
The education minister implored teachers to work hard and ensure that the new curriculum is followed to the later.
Meanwhile UNICEF Chief Communication Officer, Patrick Slavin, who spoke on behalf of Cooperating Partners (CP), assured the Ministry of Education of continued support in the implementation and rolling out of the new revised curriculum.