Zambia Education Sector Support – ZESSTA (DFID)

DFID-funded Education Sector Support and Technical Assistance in Zambia alongside the British Council

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 General Education (MoGE) to improve the country’s education sector.


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

  • Mary Surridge who was engaged at the inception phase.
  • Lilla Oliver as the Core Adviser for Curriculum.
  • Patt Flett as the Core Adviser for Research, Evaluation and Impact.

Technical support

The 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.


The ZESSTA programme has nine work streams which are designed to support MESVTEE to realise the objectives of the NIF III and to articulate NIF IV. The Technical Assistance to MESVTEE is designed to develop capacity through collaborative, sustainable support which will improve service delivery and will be ‘demand-driven i.e. linked to the Ministry’s annual planning processes, focused on education sector priorities and will be responsive to current and emerging needs.

Curriculum Development

The Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) implemented a revised national curriculum from 2013. MESVTEE have recognised that fundamental challenges have been encountered during the curriculum roll-out, which include: insufficient training for teachers, school managers and MESVTEE staff; delays in the provision of text books to learners and teachers; insufficient support materials and resources for adequate delivery of the curriculum; lack of information about and skills in continuously assessing learning (formative and summative); inadequate infrastructure and, in particular, insufficient classrooms for the high levels of student enrolment; lack of effective and efficient systems and processes for monitoring and evaluating curriculum delivery; and too few copies of the new Curriculum Framework documents and syllabi issued  to schools.

As 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.

The collaborative approach adopted by ZESSTA to support MESVTEE in addressing the challenges that they face in curriculum implementation has already established ownership, accountability and the foundation for long term sustainability for improving the quality of teaching and learning in Zambia.   CIDT are proud to be part of the consortia that will provide the support to MESVTEE over the next three years to assist them to achieve quality education for all Zambian learners.