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Zambia - STEEL
Supporting Teacher Education for Early Learning (STEEL)
Central Province
2017 - 2021
€ 4,562,000
Early childhood education; first years of primary education
Professional development of teachers (PRESET and INSET) and school leaders; equity
Although Zambia has made progress in recent years in the development of early childhood education (ECE), many challenges remain. ECE pedagogies and practice are still poorly understood, and the first ECE teachers with a diploma are yet to graduate.
As participation in ECE is only slowly on the rise, children’s first real experience with school still happens in the first year of primary education. This will be the case for many years to come, which highlights the importance to familiarise early grade primary teachers with learning and development in ECE.
The situation is particularly challenging in the Central Province, where poverty rates are very high both in urban and rural settings.

Early education teachers (preschool teachers and year 1 of primary school teachers) have the competences to implement learning through play pedagogy and use of Early Learning Development Standards.

  • Ministry of General Education (MoGE)
  • Directorates within MoGE:
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Teacher Education and Specialised Services
    • Standards and Curriculum
  • Examinations Council of Zambia
  • Colleges of Education for early childhood (2)
  • Chalimbana University
  • Central Province Education Officer – Teacher Education Departments at district level

The STEEL programme centres on strengthening the professional development opportunities that both student teachers and in-service teachers of early childhood education (ECE) enjoy.

The programme is built around four pillars:

  • Strengthening MoGE to coordinate and support gender-responsive learning through play pedagogy and use of Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS).
  • Reinforcing early education bachelor programmes in gender-responsive learning through play pedagogy and ELDS.
  • Improving newly qualified early childhood teachers’ implementation of gender-responsive learning through play pedagogy and ELDS.
  • Enhancing continuous professional development (CPD) for early childhood teachers on gender-responsive learning through play pedagogy and ELDS.

The programme contributes to the development of an approach to ECE that is practiced by student teachers and newly qualified teachers as well as in-service teachers, ensuring a smooth change trajectory.

By the end of the STEEL programme:

The directorates within MoGe:

  • will have developed a strategy, standards, and assessment for teacher professional development (TPD) in ECE;
  • included learning through play pedagogy and ELDS in their monitoring and assessments practices;
  • monitor and support TPD in ECE;
  • guide the growth of a local body of knowledge on ECE.

Two Colleges of Education:

  • incorporate and prepare student teachers in learning through play pedagogy and ELDS in their teacher training programmes, including at demonstration schools;
  • support students and mentors in teaching practice schools.

Chalimbana University:

  • incorporates learning through play pedagogy and ELDS in its ECE bachelor programme;
  • conducts and supports ECE research.

CPD authorities: facilitate and conduct improved CPD of ECE teachers that includes learning through play pedagogy and ELDS.

To reach its goals, VVOB Zambia develops the capacity of its education partners. VVOB uses capacity development trajectories that give partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This is done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB Zambia team, which includes both local and international educational and change management experts.