The Zambian Ministry of Education’s 2002 “Education for All” policy provided access to education for thousands of children, many coming from lower socioeconomic levels. The inclusive, equitable policy greatly benefited vulnerable children, especially girls, but it also challenged the education sector by flooding schools with more pupils than the system could handle. To fight the huge inequities in Zambia’s education system, the Strengthening Educational Performance Up Program (STEP-Up) aims to help the Ministry of Education undertake management reforms to improve learner performance.
The purpose of STEP-Up is to assist the Zambian Ministry of Education (MESTVEE) to undertake education management reforms to improve learner performance. The following are STEP-Up’s five task areas:
- Integrate and strengthen systems for improved decisionmaking
- Promote equity as a central theme in policy development and education management reform
- Institutionalize MOEs management of HIV/AIDS workplace programs
- Strengthen decentralization for Improved Learner Performance
- Engage Zambian institutions of higher education in MOE policy research and analysis related to school effectiveness and learning achievement
AIR, under the direction of the lead implementer, Chemonics, is providing services related to mitigating HIV/AIDS impact on the education sector (Task 3) and improving public and community school performance through decentralization (Task 4).
Under the direction of the chief of party, AIR’s contribution for Task 3 includes
- playing a lead role in improving policy in relation to the MESTVEEs workforce and school health activities;
- updating and rolling out of the policy and integration of HIV/AIDS workplace programs;
- promoting access to HIV/AIDS services; and
- developing a sustainable health management support strategy for provinces, districts, and schools.
Under the direction of the Chief of Party, AIR’s contribution for Task 4 includes
- helping STEP-Up build capacity within the MESTVEE by establishing and reinforcing the reform process from the school level up;
- contributing to the development of learner performance baseline measurement tools;
- supporting the MESTVEE to develop and implement policies, strategies, operational plans, and tools that improve learner performance;
- supporting strengthening of decentralized management functions within the MOE through capacity-building at the non-central levels; and
- supporting MESTVEE to develop guidelines, standards, and support for stakeholder investments and interventions for the education sector.
STEP-Up’s goal is to stimulate systemic reforms to address the primary shortcoming in education delivery by improving reading achievement and, in this way, improving quality education and learner performance.