01 February 2015
Schoolchildren enjoying their new reading room

Education and literacy in Zambia

Organisation: Room To Read
Location: Petauke, Zambia
Project: Supporting a school reading room

Sixty-eight percent of Zambians live in poverty and this has had a tremendous negative impact on education, hindering people from easy access to education because the cost of school is sometimes more than a family is able to afford. The Zambian education system suffers from overall compromised school quality, high staff turnover, and disparities between urban and rural areas.

Zambia’s literacy rate stands at 55.3 percent, with illiteracy much more pronounced in females than males. In order to combat the high illiteracy rates, the government has implemented a nationwide Primary Reading Program and has supported extensive training for teachers at the primary level. However, there continues to be a severe lack of access to supplementary reading materials in most government schools, and very few have libraries. The only reading materials that are available are workbooks associated with the government curriculum or donated books that are often out dated.

The Adsum foundation provided funds for the equipment, materials, books and staff training for a separate reading room in Nyamia Basic School in eastern Zambia, a combined primary/secondary school with nearly 600 students.

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments they develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children.