Zambia’s standards of practice for the teaching profession, which were developed with UNESCO support, were officially launched on 19 December 2019. These standards will guide teachers and educators by outlining their expected knowledge, skills, values, conduct, and obligations. They will also form the basis for appraisal, licensing, promotions, inspections and issuance of teaching certificates. All this feeds into one overarching aim: to deliver quality education in Zambia.
The launch brought together a wide variety of education stakeholders, including the Ministry of General Education (MoGE), teacher unions, the Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ), as well as teachers, learners and parents.
The Permanent Secretary for the MoGE, Dr. Jobbicks Kalumba stated on behalf of the Minister of General Education, that the launch demonstrates the government’s commitment to the SDGs. The PS highlighted that the standards aim to support Zambia achieve SDG4: ‘to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all’. He thanked UNESCO for its involvement and appealed the Organization for further support for implementation stating: “UNESCO should not just end here and there is also need for concerted efforts by other stakeholders in the education sector to support the dissemination of these standards as widely as possible to all teachers, teacher educators and education leaders in order to facilitate effective implementation at all levels”.
Alice Saili, the team leader for the UNESCO Field Office in Zambia, intervened on behalf of the Regional Director for UNESCO ROSA. She acknowledged the MoGE for its strong leadership throughout the entire process. Saili highlighted UNESCO’s mandate in education, operationalized through the Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme and said: “The UN is committed to our common global agenda of ensuring that, no one and least of all, no young Zambian is left behind”.
Present at the launch was also UNESCO-IICBA, which provided technical support for the standards’ development, through the CapED Programme. Dr. Temechegn Engida, represented IICBA and moderated a panel discussion on the importance of the standards in Zambia. Looking ahead to 2020 the next challenge will be to implement the new standards. What is clear from this event is that the Government and Zambia’s education stakeholders are strongly committed to transforming their education sector.