Open Schooling increases access to skills development amongst the Zambian Youths

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Zambia aspires to be a prosperous middle-income country by 2030 (see 7NDP 2017-2021). In this regard, the country has put up interventions such as the development of Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) curriculum that will ensure that entrepreneurship is incorporated in all the TEVET programmes. The TEVETA curriculum is also embraced in the Ministry of General Education under the Open schooling system where youths and adults access vocational programmes tailored at imparting life-long skills which will enhance human development and reduce poverty levels in the country.

There are currently 13 public open schools in the country offering both academic and vocational education to more than 15,000 youths and adults in the country. This gives a representation of about 5% of the youths who need education. The open schooling systems offer programmes such as; tailoring, bricklaying and carpentry, plumbing and sheet metal work, automotive mechanics hotel and hospitality, food management. Learners graduating from these programmes are provided with trade test certificates at various levels depending on the entry qualifications.

Personal Story: Ms. Florence Mwanza (first from left in the photo above)
During her secondary school education, Florence faced challenges of sponsorship hence could not enrol in the conventional school system. She, therefore, opted to enrol in an Open schooling system so that she could have some spare time to start a small business to also raise money for school.

Florence enrolled with Ndola School for Continuing Education where she studied K-12. After completing school she realized the need to have a skill in order to sustain her livelihood, thus she decided to enrol for a tailoring course at the same institution where she studied her K-12. Florence graduated from the open school system and became an assistant instructor in tailoring, providing the much-needed skill to fellow women at the same open school.

Florence saw the need to also have a teaching methodology skill. She further pursued her teaching career by enrolling with Technical Vocational teachers college where she trained by distance education mode in teaching methodology. She obtained a diploma in teaching methodology.

Florence has a huge passion for tailoring and continues to assist as an instructor in tailoring at Ndola school for continuing education, the open school where she earlier trained.

Currently, Florence is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in tailoring through distance education mode and is a full-time instructor who is now developing online vocational courses under the Notesmaster COL project in Zambia.

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