USAID Transforming Teacher Education in Zambia Project Launch

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires a.i. David Young
USAID Transforming Teacher Education in Zambia Project Launch
Friday, April 9, 2021 

(Remarks as prepared)

Ministry of General Education – Permanent Secretary-Technical Services Dr. Jobbicks Kalumba
Ministry of Higher Education – Permanent Secretary Ms. Kayula Siame
University of Zambia – Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr. Tamala Kambikambi
University of Zambia – Dean of School of Education Dr. Bentry Nkata
Distinguished partners and guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to be here today with the Ministry of General Education, Ministry of Higher Education, and the University of Zambia to launch the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Transforming Teacher Education activity.  As a longtime partner in Zambia’s Primary Literacy Program, the U.S. government is pleased to announce this new phase of our partnership to support Zambia’s teacher training colleges and universities.

The United States has been a steadfast supporter of Zambia’s Primary Literacy Program.  Through USAID, we have worked together with the Government of the Republic of Zambia to deliver improved primary school literacy instruction and materials aligned with the national curriculum.  In recent years, our partnership has supported the Ministry of General Education to train over 20,000 currently serving primary school teachers and to produce and distribute over 4.8 million teacher guides, textbooks, and reading materials.

The Transforming Teacher Education activity is an extension of the United States’ partnership with Zambia’s education sector.  It represents a new way of investing in Zambia’s teachers and ultimately improving literacy rates in primary schools.  Teachers are at the very center of a quality education, and when teachers are well-trained, students thrive.

This activity strengthens the capacity of Zambia’s Colleges of Education and universities to equip teachers with the tools they need to deliver high-quality instruction in reading and local language literacy.  By enriching pre-service teacher education, these investments will help ingrain effective primary literacy instruction practices in Zambia’s education system to benefit future generations of teachers and students.

We are pleased that this partnership will support lecturers at all government Colleges of Education and universities that offer the primary teacher’s diploma.  We are also excited to announce our partner for this activity, Florida State University.”

As a premier teacher training institution in the United States, Florida State will provide key Zambian lecturers with valuable experience through residencies, study tours, and scholarships for master’s degrees.

This partnership will also bring opportunities for lecturers and students to lead relevant research in Zambia.  Through these research opportunities, we look forward to seeing new policies and practices emerge and strengthen relationships between Colleges of Education and local primary schools.  These relationships will connect pre-service teachers with vital practical, classroom teaching experience.

I am encouraged by the opportunities this partnership will bring to generations of new teachers.

The late former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said it best:

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.  It is a tool for daily life in modern society.  It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories.  Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity.  Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition.  For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”

I wish to thank the Zambian government for its steadfast partnership.  We deeply value our relationship and want to support you so that every child in Zambia has the opportunity to learn in primary school.  I am pleased to expand this partnership to the University of Zambia, as a leader in pre-service teacher education.

I look forward to seeing the transformative impacts this program will bring to thousands of new teachers, and to the children they will ultimately teach.