Community Schools - a Zambia Case Essay

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Introduction As a result of the political and economic shifts that occurred during Zambia’s transition away from a socialist economy in the early 1990s, many Zambians became concerned with the country’s large number of uneducated children. Communities began forming their own schools, usually in the absence of a nearby public school and/or in response to the inability of families to meet the costs associated with government-provided schooling. Supported by local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and, most importantly, embraced by the Zambian government, these local initiatives have grown into a national movement. The country’s current education sector plan recognizes the critical role community schools play in contributing to realizing education for all (EFA), as evidenced by the following direct quote from the 2001 Ministry of Education “Policy and Guidelines for the Development of Community Schools in Zambia: ‘The Ministry recognizes that over the last four years two kinds of successful alternative approaches that address enrolment of orphans and vulnerable groups have already been established. Therefore new agreements and memoranda of understanding will be developed with community schools and interactive radio centers to provide specific access for out-of-school children. These agreements will increase Ministry support through grants and materials while still preserving strong community ownership’ Since 1998, the government has officially recognized community schools and has been working in partnership with the Zambia Community Schools Secretariat (ZCSS), an umbrella NGO for community schools, to promote their development. The impact of the HIV epidemic is one reason cited for the growth of community schools in Zambia. Almost 1 million people in Zambia are living with HIV/AIDS. The population of orphaned children grows as more and more adults
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