Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Access, Quality, and Opportunity: A Case Study of Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS)

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Access, Quality, and Opportunity: A Case Study of Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS)

Article excerpt

Community schools and other approaches to Alternative Primary Education or APE have increased access to primary education for underserved populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as a major goal of the Education for All (EFA) movement. In Zambia, a country where an estimated 20 percent of the basic education enrollment now attends community schools, such efforts are undoubtedly the most significant responses to the Zambian government's incapacity to provide a sufficient number of school places to primary-aged children. While community schools make meaningful contributions to the goals of EFA by increasing access for various populations, it remains unclear how Zambia's estimated 2,500 community schools are monitored and evaluated. Indeed, while advocates have praised community schools more generally for their focus on disadvantaged children, community control, and relevance to students' everyday lives, critics argue that these schools are "second-rate education for second-rate students" that perpetuate a system of inequality in which country governments play a minimal role in ensuring both access and quality for all students.

In this case study, I attempt to understand how various community schools in Zambia function, raising questions about why some families send their children to community schools and what lies ahead for community school students upon completion. …

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