Zambia brings back local languages to improve learning

Watch a video on how Zambia has reintroduced Luvale in its primary schools, leading to better reading results

Welcome to Chavuma District located in Zambia’s Northwestern Province. With support from a $35.2 million GPE grant, the local authorities have reintroduced Luvale, one of the local languages, back into the school system. Parents and grandparents are enthusiastic because they say it will strengthen the links between generations.

Since 2004, Zambia has received two grants from GPE to support its education sector. The second grant is currently being administrated through DFID Zambia is direct support to the country’s education budget.

The new curriculum brings about better results

The grant specifically supports the integration of local languages, like Luvale, into the new curriculum for grades 1 to 4. By doing so, schools, like Sanjogo Primary School in the Chavuma District, challenge students to learn and read both Luvale and English.

During a field visit in May 2016, as part of the joint annual sector review, Zambia’s Ministry of General Education and  cooperating partners* representatives jointly observed firsthand how the new curriculum is being implemented. The group reviewed a sample of 40 schools across the country, totaling around 1,500 students from grades 1 to 3. They noticed a significant increase in test scores in literacy and numeracy from the previous two years in the lower grades.

The review covered only a sample of schools, but it is encouraging to see more children in early grades able to read and count in both the local language and English. It’s a positive change and a good omen for the future of learning in Zambia.

*cooperating partners: DFID, USAID, UNICEF, IrishAid, JICA

Learn more about Zambia

Sub-Saharan Africa: Zambia


The Global Partnership for Education Secretariat is headquartered in Washington DC and has approximately 100 staff. The Secretariat provides administrative and operational support to all its partners including 65 developing...

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