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Zambia Education Facts


The school system in Zambia has been greatly expanded since the country’s independence from the UK in 1964. However, the shortcomings are still large and many students skip studies already in primary school.

At independence, three-quarters of men and almost all women were illiterate. According to the UN agency Unesco, just over 71 percent of adults could read and write in 2010. But the differences are large between men and women. In 2010, over four-fifths of men were literate, while the proportion of women was six out of ten.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Zambia, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

The seven-year compulsory school is free of charge and formally compulsory for all children between 7 and 13 years. As a rule, at least nine out of ten children start school. However, many students, especially in rural areas, end up already in middle school to start working and helping with family support instead.

After elementary school follows a two-year and a three-year voluntary stage. An estimated one quarter of all girls and just under one third of boys between the ages of 14 and 19 attend at least some of this education.

The Zambian schools are facing a number of problems. There is a lack of good facilities, educated teachers and teaching materials, not least in the countryside. On average, each teacher has about 50 students in each class, sometimes more. Often school benches are missing and children may sit on the floor – or outdoors if there is no school building. Several schools are run with the help of private efforts.

The education at the country’s three state universities in Lusaka, Kitwe and Kabwe are subject to fees. The number of university students increased sharply after the turn of the millennium thanks to better opportunities for student loans. Zambia also has several technical and vocational schools and private colleges. Many young Zambians from more affluent families are getting higher education abroad, especially in the UK.

  • Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Zambia, covering middle school, high school and college education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

84.1 percent (2017)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

48 (2013)

Reading and writing skills

83.0 percent (2010)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

5.7 percent (2008)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

5.7 percent (2008)



Hichilema in detention

October 5

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema is arrested by police and detained on charges of rioting and for organizing a meeting without permission. Hichilema dismisses the charges. He is released on bail the next day. (5/10)


The government partially appointed

September 15th

President Lungu presents a series of key ministers in his new government: Harry Kalaba becomes Foreign Minister, Davies Chama Minister of Defense, Steven Kampyongo Home Minister and Felix Mutati will be responsible for the Ministry of Finance.

Election appeal is rejected

September 5

With three votes against two, the Constitutional Court rejects the appeal of the presidential election filed by opposition leader Hichilema, despite no formal treatment of the case. The protest was filed after a week, but the court adjourned the case with reference to the fact that UNPD’s lawyers constantly came in with new information until the stipulated time of 14 days expired. (5/9)


Private media is silenced

22 August

The Ethernet Media Authority submits the broadcasting license for one of the country’s largest private TV channels and two radio stations that are regarded as sympathizers to the opposition. They are accused of “#professional” reporting in connection with the general elections. (22/8)

Many arrested after election protest

August 16th

Southern Province police arrest 150 activists for the opposition party UNPD who are protesting against the outcome of the presidential election by building street barricades and burning car tires. (16/8)

Lungu reign

August 15th

The vote counted out over time, causing President Lungu’s chief challenger Hakainde Hichilema to suspect irregularities. Three days after the election, the Election Commission chief announces that Lungu has been re-elected with 50.35 percent of the vote. Hichilema’s camp claims that there is plenty of evidence that manipulations have taken place and says that the result should be disputed. In the parliamentary elections, PF retains its majority with 80 seats, an increase of 20. The UNPD for its part increases by 30 seats to 58. The old ruling party MMD is raging from 55 seats to just 3, and Zambia has in practice a two-party system so far. Observers from the EU, US and AU agree with the assessment that the state media favored PF unilaterally. (15/8)

Five choices at a time

August 11th

After a violent election campaign that demanded the lives of three people, the general elections become a tranquil event. This time Zambians will keep track of five ballot papers and nominate president, parliament, mayor and local parishes. They must also vote yes or no to a statutory supplement. (11/8)


Canceled election campaign

July 10

The Election Commission forbids all politicians to campaign for ten days in the capital, shaken by violent clashes between different political camps. (10/7)


  • June 28

Two heads of the country’s largest independent newspaper The Post are arrested a few days after the authorities closed the newspaper, citing that it would have large tax liabilities. The arrested journalists claim that the tax debt is a clue to silence the newspaper ahead of the August presidential election. (28/6)


The mass grabbing for crawling

April 19

Lusaka police arrest more than 200 people who participated in riots and looting of shops owned by Rwandans following rumors that foreigners were behind a number of ritual murders recently. Two people, who later turned out to be Zambians, are burned to death. (19/4)


New arrest of opposition

21 March

The leader of the opposition party Fourth Revolution, Eric Chanda, is arrested after in an article accusing President Lungu of going to a club and playing billiards for tax dollars. The article was printed in May last year. That the arrest, like that of Mwamba at the beginning of the month, is now interpreted as an attempt by the government to quell the opposition to the August presidential election. (21/3)

Opposition politicians are arrested

March 2

The police seize one of the leaders of the opposition party UNPD, Geoffrey Mwamba. He is accused of training 250 young men with the aim of creating a private militia force that, according to police, would be used to create unrest in the country if the party loses the elections in August. He denies the charges. (2/3)


New rules for presidential elections

January 5

President Lungu is signing an addition to the Constitution previously adopted by Parliament. Among other things, it is stipulated that general elections must be held on the second Thursday in August every five years. A presidential candidate must get over 50 percent of the vote in order to be elected, which means a second round of voting may be needed. Each presidential candidate must also appoint a candidate for vice president in advance so that precious and time-consuming new elections can be avoided if the president dies during the term of office. The constitutional supplement announces this year’s election to August 11. Furthermore, a new constitutional court should be created and given a position equal to the highest court. (5/1)

Zambia Best Colleges and Universities