Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has recently conducted a visit to Zambia, led by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer, to announce the launch of a new AED1.8 million (US$489,773) programme that aims to mainstream continuous assessment in the education system by building the capacity of personnel in the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, MESVTEE.
The programme provides policy makers and teachers with the tools and skills they need to measure what children are learning, and uses findings to improve the quality of learning, responding to the fundamental questions set by the Learning Metrics Task Force, LMTF.
Dubai Cares has been supporting the LMTF since 2012, contributing to the development of learning metrics for delivering quality education and establishing a defined mechanism to influence the post-2015 education framework. In February 2012, Dubai Cares hosted the second LMTF meeting in Dubai to identify common learning goals in order to improve learning opportunities for children and youth across the world. Currently, Dubai Cares is supporting developing countries with the adoption of LMTF recommendations, enabling them to measure a more holistic set of learning outcomes. In Zambia, the LMTF seeks to support the Zambian government in implementing a framework to improve the quality of schooling across the country, and to provide equal opportunities for young girls to receive an education.
In accordance with the findings of the first phase of the LMTF, in 2013 under the Zambia Education Curriculum Framework, the country implemented its first annual numeracy and literacy competence assessments at primary level. This marked a major achievement in the development of creating a framework for the Zambian government and education authorities to assess the quality of schooling.
Social and cultural barriers to schooling are more prominent among girls growing up in rural areas in Zambia. To help address this issue, Dubai Cares launched the programme in partnership with the Campaign for Female Education, Camfed, an international non-profit organisation which invests in the education of girls and young women in impoverished rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
During the field trip leading up to the launch of the programme, Tariq Al Gurg said, "Providing a framework for the assessment of learning is vital as we cannot manage or improve what we cannot measure. Dubai Cares, in coordination with the Examinations Council of Zambia, is committed to providing policy makers and teachers with the capacity needed to accurately measure the learning outcomes of children at every level of their education, and to use these findings to improve the quality of schooling, particularly in rural areas of Zambia where resources are limited."
"Through a standardised monitoring, evaluation and learning system, children and schools in need of additional support can be identified and all members of the education system can strive towards improving standards and levels of attainment. As part of the second phase of LMTF which we support through this programme and our implementing partner, Camfed, I am proud to say that more than 5,370 children, 75 teachers and 309 support staff in Zambia will benefit from the programme, and the wider impact will be far greater, with an estimated 3.2 million children benefitting indirectly from the investment and framework delivered," he added.
Dorothy Kasanda, Director of Partnerships, Camfed Zambia, said, "Camfed is delighted to partner with Dubai Cares to support the Ministry of General Education in Zambia to improve learning outcomes of school pupils across the country. With the funding from Dubai Cares, we will be helping teachers to integrate continuous assessment techniques into their work. We will train an expert team of trainers at national, provincial and district levels, who will in turn reach teachers across the country. The project will provide a model for learning and replication across the region, and is an important contributor to the Sustainable Development Goal of improving the quality of learning for marginalised children."
As part of the programme, Dubai Cares and Camfed will work with the Examinations Council of Zambia, the MESVTEE, and other key stakeholders to develop and deliver the necessary training to adequately assess children at primary school level across Zambia, and in particular the Western Province.