Policy Matters

IT education insufficient in Zambia

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According to Dennis Wanchinga, executive director of the National Science and Technology Council, which wishes to undertake an evidence-based assessment of Zambian schools. 'It is the absence of the best basic teaching aids for teaching science that is missing in schools,' Wanchinga said in an interview. 'Pupils have never seen the chemical reactions. The laboratories are poorly equipped. We are not teaching much to develop our own local material for teaching science and depend on foreign material.' Download the latest Network World Executive Guide – Virtualization Reality CheckWhile Lewis Mwape, a physics teacher at Matero Girls Secondary School in Lusaka, said the expense of equipment limits classroom experiments, he makes due with what he has.

'As a teacher, I improvise in some experiments, like on the demonstration of a wave in a ripple tank, and have been using the learning channel on DStv for pupils to learn about science and mathematics,' said Wanchinga. Currently, 0.2 % of the national budget is allocated to the Ministry of Science and Technology, which Wanchinga said is not sufficient. However, the Lagos Plan of Action by Heads of State has agreed that the ministry must receive at least 1 percent of national budget funds. To improve the situation in schools, Zambia needs a strong policy framework anchored by the highest governmental office, Wanchinga said, and training qualified teachers and creating specialized education centers in science and technology must be placed atop the government's agenda.

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