Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST) Project: Cohort 2 Evaluation, April 2020

Stutchbury, Kris and Gallastegi, Lore (2020). Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST) Project: Cohort 2 Evaluation, April 2020. The Open University.



The aim of ZEST is to support the Zambian Government in the implementation of the Revised School Curriculum. The curriculum calls for more learner-centred approaches and a focus on the teaching of skills and values alongside knowledge. ZEST supports teachers through a focus on active teaching approaches and collaborative working, working within the existing system of regular teacher group meetings and collaborative planning. The main difference between ZEST and the current SBCPD model is that demonstration lessons have been replaced by an expectation that all teachers will try out the planned activities and reflect on how they went. Where possible, teachers are encouraged to observe each other informally for short periods of time. Thus, SBCPD involves all teachers as active participants.
Cohort 2 was launched in December 2018, with the programme starting in January 2019. It involved approximately 200 teachers, from 6 schools in 3 zones of Kabwe district (Broadway, Nkwashi and Katondo). Five of the schools are considered to be ‘urban’ with one being ‘peri-urban’. This Cohort 2 evaluation report complements the year 3 annual report and logframe data submitted to the Scottish Government in April 2020, and forms part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the ZEST project. We are firmly committed to the belief that it is ‘possible to research and learn from social policies, programs and initiatives in order to improve their effectiveness’ (Pawson & Tilley, 1997, pxii). Accordingly, this evaluation seeks to build on the Cohort 1 evaluation, to demonstrate what we have learnt from Cohort 2 of ZEST and to explain how this is shaping our approach to the project.
Evidence for this evaluation includes an independent evaluation exercise undertaken in all 6 Cohort 2 schools in March 2020. For this we adopted the same methodology as the baseline study and the Cohort 1 evaluation, and the aim was to gather data to enable us to report the measures identified in the logframe (see below).
This sort of experimental evaluation is essential for accountability. We have also included evidence which brings in the voices of Teachers, School In-Service Coordinators (SICs), Zone In-Service Coordinators (ZICs), Headteachers, and Zone and District Officials who form Cohort 2 in the ZEST programme, to enable us to better understand and illustrate what aspects of the programme are working well and why; and to identify learning to carry forward into the next phase of the programme.

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