• Highlighting results and lessons from three years of education sector support in Zambia

    25 February 2018
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    ZESSTA document covers

    We are delighted to announce the successful conclusion of the DFID Zambia Education Sector Support Technical Assistance facility (ZESSTA) (2014-2018). CIDT have provided over 550 staff and associate days of technical assistance from Lilla Oliver, Patt Flett, Andrew Snowden and Rob Smith in the areas of Curriculum Reform, Human Resources Management and Research, Evaluation and Impact.

    Results papers

    ZESSTA Results Papers document coverThe Results Papers document offers some key information on how a demand-driven Support Technical Assistance project can focus on areas of key government need to push forward on key constraints in the topics of: Planning, Technical Assistance, strengthening M&E for accountability in an education ministry,  bringing in a new approach to school leadership, developing a new assessment policy and implementing it and the introduction of teaching practice standards.

    The document features all six results paper produced:

    • Implementation of the revised curriculum;
    • Using technical assistance to get things done in a busy organisation;
    • Towards a learning and accountable ministry: Strengthening M&E capacity in the Ministry of General Education;
    • Zambia adopts a new approach to strengthening school leadership;
    • Improving learning for all: Developing assessment policy and changing practice;
    • Developing teacher performance through national professional standards.

    Lesson learning

    ZESSTA Lesson Learning document coverThe Lesson Learning paper highlights several important achievements and lessons from the facility including:

    • the introduction of teaching standards;
    • the support a TA Facility can provide and conditions for it;
    • the significance of how and where decisions are made in conjunction with the TA facility;
    • the nature of human and financial resourcing;
    • the time required for adopting new approaches.

    Lastly there are lessons about how to develop a legacy for the project so that the results are embedded.

    ZESSTA Podcast

    To bring ZESSTA to life in the words of key project partners, you can listen to the podcast outlining the context, journey and achievements of ZESSTA.

    We wish all project participants and partners well in their future endeavours as this key support to Zambia budget support ends.

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  • Longitudinal study aims to combat school dropouts in Zimbabwe

    8 November 2017
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    UNICEF project team

    CIDT is leading a new four-year study in Zimbabwe that will track 3780 students to explore the factors that influence school dropouts. The study is funded by UNICEF.

    Over the next four years CIDT and a research team in Zimbabwe will track a cohort of boys and girls, to understand how they progress through primary and secondary school. In particular, this longitudinal research seeks to illuminate the factors that predict and account for successful transition and survival (or dropping out) in Zimbabwean schools.

    The study will review the process of dropping out of school with the aim of pinpointing the best entry points for optimal impact of policy and programme interventions. We will seek to learn from the pathways pursued of those children that drop out of school, as well as the actions at different levels that can enhance participation in the education system.

    We will use mixed methods approaches to investigate a range of factors operating at the level of the learner as well as interrogate the influences of the household, school, community and institutional dimensions on education outcomes in Zimbabwe.

    In total the study is targeting a nationally representative sample of 3780 students drawn from a range of school types, geographical locations, and socio-economic backgrounds.

    In this project the CIDT is collaborating with two national consultancy firms based in Zimbabwe: Muthengo Development Solutions and Development Data.

    The project team consists of Mary Surridge (Team leader), Lilla Oliver (Education Specialist) and Canford Chiroro (Project Manager and Qualitative Research Specialist).

    For further information please do not hesitate to contact Dr Canford Chiroro.


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  • Rebalancing Zambia’s teaching workforce

    3 May 2017
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    ZESSTA logo

    A new workstream has been implemented in the CIDT supported Zambia Education Sector Support Technical Assistance (ZESSTA) Facility to improve human resources issues, such as teacher shortages, performance management and professional teaching standards.

    The ‘Strengthening Human Resource Management’ stream of the ZESSTA Facility is designed to help rebalance Zambia’s teaching workforce, given current shortages in rural and remote areas and an overprovision of teachers in some urban schools. In addition, the initiatives being implemented will combat high levels of absence, poor behaviour and low motivation among teachers.

    To achieve its key objective of improving performance management of teachers in schools, the team is working with a number of directorates in the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) to develop sets of national professional standards for teachers, teacher educators and headteachers.

    These standards set out what is expected of these three groups and will support appointment and promotion processes, appraisal and staff development and the licensing and relicensing of teachers.

    The team has worked closely with the MoGE Institutional Leadership and Management team to develop standards which will clarify the expectations of headteachers and help those headteachers performance manage their teaching teams.

    Supported by the Director of Human Resources and Administration in the MoGE, ZESSTA is implementing pilot districts to audit the actual deployment of teachers in order to correct their pay and understand where under- and over-staffing exists.

    CIDT’s Lilla Oliver, Core Adviser Curriculum (CA-C) at the ZESSTA Facility, commented on the potential impact of this work, “We’re excited about the impact that this initiative will have in Zambia, not only on teachers, but on the whole education system. If the country’s 90,000 teachers are better supported, this could have a significant positive effect on pupil learning and attainment.”

    Find out more about our work in Zambia at the ZESSTA project page.

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  • Independent Qualitative Research Study of Camfed’s Girls Education Challenge Step Change Window Project in Tanzania and Zimbabwe

    3 November 2016
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    Validation workshop

    Validation workshopIn September to October 2016, four CIDT consultants, Mary Surridge, Lilla Oliver, Sarah Thomas and Rufsana and two external consultants in Zimbabwe and Tanzania were contracted to undertake a qualitative study of Camfed’s Girls’ Education Challenge Step Change Window (GEC SCW) project in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, in order to contribute to, and complement the quantitative end line survey and better understand which elements of the project are working (or not), how and why.

    Camfed’s GEC SCW project targets marginalised girls in rural communities of Zimbabwe and Tanzania with an aim of increasing girls’ retention through a full cycle of early secondary education and improving their opportunities to learn.  The project interventions are targeted in 24 districts in Zimbabwe and 11 in Tanzania, in 991 secondary schools, and include:

    • Providing financial support to meet girls’ material needs, combined with targeted local initiatives to tackle obstacles to girls’ retention and ensure a supportive educational environment.
    • Developing and distributing low-cost, self-directed study guides in core curriculum subjects to support academic learning as well as a broader life skills curriculum.
    • Enabling young women on leaving school to play a role as Learner Guides, supporting children in their local schools while gaining status and opportunities.
    • Reinforcing existing local government and community structures to respond to the needs of marginalised girls, safeguard their rights and entitlements and reinforce children protection, and ultimately to influence policy.
    • Pioneering use of mobile technology to capture real-time data about girls, their schools and communities, and to open up opportunities for networking and access to educational resources.
    • Engaging with national education partners to develop and review the approach under the GEC, and to identify opportunities for key lessons and practices to be adopted more widely.

    The consultants travelled to various districts including, Gokwe, Umguza, Kibaha and Harare in Zimbabwe and Rufiji, Morogoro, Handeni and Pangani in Tanzania to conduct their evaluation. They met with a broad range of in-country actors and stakeholders, including schools, headteachers, teachers, District Operations Secretariats/District Coordinators, Community Development Committees, School Development Committees (Zimbabwe only), Ministry of Education District Education Officers, local officials, community groups, male and female students and young girls involved in the project.

    Following the country visit, the consultants successfully delivered a validation workshop in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, with stakeholders, including CAMFED representatives presenting the preliminary findings and will merge both country findings to deliver a final research report.

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  • CIDT technical assistance in Zambia supports training of 98,000 teachers on the implementation of the revised curriculum

    25 August 2016
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    ZESSTA team

    ZESSTA teamCIDT is a member of the consortia – led by British Council – that supports the MoGE Zambia Education Sector Support Technical Assistance (ZESSTA) Facility.

    The ZESSTA Facility is an initiative funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) that provides MoGE with access to technical assistance on a demand-driven basis and in line with its sector plans.

    TCIG cover

    Above: The new TCIG.

    Planning a revised National Curriculum

    Through its ZESSTA Facility, the Ministry has previously commissioned a study to generate and cost options to address the challenges faced in the roll-out of the revised National Curriculum. One of the options proposed and accepted was wide-scale in-service training to help teachers implement the revised curriculum.

    Another of the options proposed was the design of a document that would provide teachers with easy-access guidance on the revised curriculum. This document, the Teachers’ Curriculum Implementation Guide (TCIG), will be used as core reference material during the in-service training of 98,000 teachers.  All teachers in Zambia will receive a copy of the TCIG which will be valuable resource to guide them in the implementation of the revised curriculum.

    Rolling out the new Curriculum

    TOT Process

    Above: Steps to rolling out the National Curriculum to 98,000 teachers.

    From 2529 July 2016, in a workshop in Lusaka, 40 MoGE education professionals were trained as trainers of the revised national curriculum. ZESSTA supported MoGE to facilitate this training with technical assistance provided by CIDT and two national curriculum specialists.

    These trainers will commence the training of Provincial trainers from 18 August 2016 who will in turn train teachers in their Provinces on the implementation of the revised national curriculum.

    Training of trainers workshops

    The following photos have been taken at teacher training workshops across the country.

    Congratulations to Zambia’s MoGE!

    The impact of the new National Curriculum will be phenomenal and the MoGE will have achieved a significant milestone in being able to train their 98,000 teachers through support and technical assistance provided by ZESSTA.

    The CIDT team

    Staff from CIDT who are working closely on the ZESSTA programme are:
    • Mary Surridge, inception phase/planning
    • Lilla Oliver, Core Adviser for Curriculum
    • Patt Flett, Core Adviser for research, surveys and impact evaluation
    • Andrew Snowden, HR Adviser
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  • CIDT supports MoGE Zambia to produce Curriculum Implementation Guide

    19 November 2015
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    Mrs Cecilia Sakala Director of Standards and Curriculum presentation made at first key stakeholder workshop

    CIDT is a member of the consortia – led by British Council – that supports the MoGE Zambia Education Sector Support Technical Assistance (ZESSTA) Facility. Recent developments have led to Zambia’s Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) being reorganized and separated into two Ministries: the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE).

    CIDT staff visited Zambia for a two-week assignment at the end of October 2015 to support the Teacher Education and Specialized Services (TESS) in MoGE to produce a comprehensive costed plan for the National Train the Trainer programme to support curriculum roll-out.

    The second focus of the engagement was to work collaboratively with the Director of Standards and Curriculum to produce a situation report on the current status of the costed options for curriculum implementation. It is encouraging to report that the first key activity to improve and enhance the implementation of the revised curriculum will be to design and develop a Teachers’ Curriculum Implementation Guide (TCIG).

    Participants of the TCIG workshop celebrate their hard work and achievement at the conclusion of the workshop on Friday 27th Nov 2015

    Participants of the TCIG workshop celebrate their hard work and achievement at the conclusion of the workshop on Friday 27th Nov 2015

    The TCIG will be designed during a 10-day workshop from 16th November 2015 to 27th November 2015 and will be facilitated by an international curriculum specialist engaged by ZESSTA. Support and quality assurance will be provided by CIDT staff Lilla Oliver as the ZESSTA Core Adviser for Curriculum. In attendance will be 27 HQ MoGE staff from Early Childhood Education, CDC, Technical Vocational Education and Training & TESS as well as a representative from the Examinations Council Zambia (ECZ) and four practising / exemplary teachers from each type of school which is implementing the revised curriculum.

    Watch this space for an update on the progress of this TCIG following CIDT’s next visit to Zambia in early December 2015.



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  • Zambia education project moves from inception to implementation

    22 June 2015
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    First Key Stakeholder workshop

    First Key Stakeholder workshopThe DFID-funded Zambia Education Sector Support Technical Assistance (ZESSTA) Programme has now moved from inception to project implementation phase from 1st June 2015. The British Council is responsible for delivering this programme in partnership with Ecorys, the Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia (FAWEZA) and the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) University of Wolverhampton. This programme will support Zambia’s Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) to improve the country’s education sector.

    Mrs. Cecilia Sakala Director of Standards and Curriculum presentation made at first key stakeholder workshopThe Technical Assistance component of the Education Sector Budget Support (SBS) Programme in Zambia (ZESSTA) is a 3 year, £4.6m contract which is part of a broader Sector Budget Support programme aiming to support the Government of Zambia to improve the effectiveness of its spend in Education. The Technical Assistance component is intended to accompany SBS service delivery grants to strengthen financial, HR, data and results management systems.

    CIDT Team

    Staff from CIDT who are working closely on the ZESSTA programme are:

    • Mrs. Mary Surridge who was engaged at the inception phase
    • Ms Lilla Oliver as the Core Adviser for Curriculum
    • Ms Patt Flett as the Core Adviser for research, surveys and impact evaluation.

    Curriculum development

    Technical Assistance Assignment Team membersAs Core Adviser for Curriculum Lilla has recently undertaken two assignments during the inception phase of the ZESSTA programme which have supported MESVTEE in addressing the challenges they face in curriculum roll-out by producing three costed optional scenarios (high, medium and low) for the implementation of the revised national curriculum which are designed to:

    • optimise learning outcomes and build on progress achieved thus far
    • support the identification of appropriate resources through the national budgeting process
    • provide evidence to inform the 2015 DFID Joint Annual Review (JAR)

    The assignments were undertaken by Lilla with a team of national and international specialists who worked in collaboration with MESVTEE to enable the costed options to be presented at the Joint Annual DFID Review Meeting at the end of May 2015. The MESVTEE will now select the costed options which will address the challenges they face with curriculum implementation. Lilla will return to Zambia in July to support MESVTEE in developing their costed curriculum implementation action planning framework and Patt will make her fist visit in July as Core Adviser of research, surveys and impact evaluation.

    Find out more

    You can find out more about this project in our projects portfolio.

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  • Philip Dearden presents at International Higher Education Forum 2015

    13 April 2015
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    IHEF 2015 branding

    CIDT Head of Centre Philip Dearden presented a paper on ‘International Development Initiatives: The benefits’ at the recent International Higher Education Forum 2015 organised by Universities UK which took place on 19th March 2015.

    Now in its third year, the International Higher Education Forum provides insights into the latest developments, trends and opportunities for universities – all through its access to the some of the most experienced professionals in the sector, government and partner organisations, and to senior representatives from a wide range of countries of interest to UK higher education institutions.

    The presentation focused on the wide-ranging benefits of international development initiatives, from income generation to international student recruitment and raising the profile of the institution, using case studies for CIDT’s work to demonstrate each area.

    Click the image below to download the powerpoint presentation with notes (pdf, 3.5mb).

    IHEF presentation

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  • Distance learning with St Helena

    8 April 2012
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    Distance learning session with St Helena

    If asked what they know about the island of St Helena, most people would be forgiven for knowing very little, or having a vague recollection from history lessons of a connection with Napoleon.

    The small island in the South Atlantic was indeed the place where the infamous French Emperor spent the last six years of his life in exile. Today, the quiet island still poses a challenge to reach, as it has no airport and takes around a week to travel to by boat. But in other areas things have moved on and the Internet has transformed the lives of the 3,500 inhabitants of the British colony.

    However, in 2003 when the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) first started working with the St Helena Education Department (SHED) there was still a great need for outside help, as there was no access to further or higher education on the island and the school system needed modernisation.

    CIDT hopes to secure funding to take forward the second phase of the St Helena Education Sector Support Programme. The contract with the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) would enable University experts to build on the success of the first phase of the project, which it managed from 2003 to 2008. The main aim was to set up and support the provision of vocational education on the island and transform the education system for primary and secondary school pupils.

    The team now aims to focus again on secondary education and to build on the use of IT in teaching and learning.

    Philip Dearden is the Head of CIDT. He says: “A significant focus of Phase One was improving the quality of education, particularly vocational education, in preparation for the then planned airport. As a small island with limited resources, reinvigorating the education system held many challenges. Not least was the three to seven days travel required to reach the island.”

    As well as the difficulties in reaching the island, the public transport system is fairly new and described as limited. Despite the challenges, Phase One was very successful.

    The CIDT team supported the St Helena Education Department in setting up a vocational education system for adults, as well as school pupils. Primary education was restructured, which included working with the teachers to adapt the UK curriculum to make it more relevant to the St Helena setting.

    The number of pupils had rapidly declined in recent years, so schools were amalgamated to increase the efficiency of the teaching provided. Training was given to teachers to develop  strategies in areas such as behaviour management and classroom organisation. Information and communication technologies (ICT) were improved and distance and online programmes were introduced.

    A number of young islanders receive scholarships to attend universities in the UK. Part of CIDT’s work in Phase One involved supporting the St Helenian students at UK universities to adapt to the very different environment and social context that UK universities represent.

    Centre staff provided support to them throughout their studies and with career planning for their return to the island. In addition, British teachers were recruited for one or two year periods to fill the gaps in the education service and provide staff development for the island-based teachers.

    Mary Surridge was CIDT’s Programme Manager for Phase One, and was delighted with the results. The success was also recognised by the UK Government, which is responsible for the small overseas territory.

    She says: “The final DFID annual review of the programme was extremely positive, showing that we were completely on track for achieving project objectives.”

    The proposed airport is now on hold again, but the CIDT team hope to take forward Phase Two of the education project, which would run until 2012.

    This time, University staff would be working closely with Shropshire Local Education Authority (LEA), which is one of the highest performing local authorities in England.

    The team has developed a package of support initiatives, which includes seconding St Helena teachers to UK schools to improve teaching  practices and developing one-to-one links with schools in Shropshire to provide peer support. Distance learning would be further developed and ‘on island’ training would be offered by experienced staff from CIDT and Shropshire LEA to build the professional and technical skills of teachers and school management.

    In addition, the wider community would be invited to participate in the transformed schools by the development of a system of governance.

    Philip is full of praise for the project. “We are very hopeful that we will be chosen by the Government of St Helena and DFID for the second phase of this contract.”

    The St Helena project is just one of the many  diverse projects Philip’s team of 15 staff are working on at CIDT. At any one time, staff  can be in Syria, Ghana, Rwanda and China,  among other countries. The main aim of CIDT is poverty reduction by helping developing countries through consultancy and continuous professional development (CPD).

    Philip believes the key to success in St Helena and other initiatives is the staff who work on the projects.

    “Our staff believe passionately in what they are doing, and that is what makes us so successful.”


    • St Helena is situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, 1,200 miles from the south-west coast of Africa, and 1,800 miles from the coast of South America. The nearest land is Ascension Island, 703 miles to the  north-west.
    • The Island is 47 square miles, 10.5 miles long and 6.5 miles wide.
    • The St Helena pound is fixed at parity with British pound Sterling.
    • English is the only language spoken on St Helena, although most St Helenians speak their own dialect.
    • The population of St Helena is 3,500.
    • The capital and only town is Jamestown, with a population of 884.
    • Timing is in line with Greenwich Mean Time all year round.
    • St Helena has no airport as yet therefore the only mode of travel is by ship.
    • Local food specialities include fishcakes, pilau, coconut fingers, pumpkin pudding and pumpkin fritters.
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