Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST) Project: Cohort 3 Evaluation, May 2021

Stutchbury, Kris; Gallastegi, Lore and Woodward, Clare (2021). Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST) Project: Cohort 3 Evaluation, May 2021. The Open University.



The aim of ZEST Enhanced Schools Based Continuing Professional Development (SBCPD) programme 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 (TGMs) and collaborative planning. The enhancements to the current SBCPD model are that resources are provided to support TGM activities and demonstration lessons have been replaced by an expectation that all teachers will try out the planned activities in their own lessons and reflect on how they went. Where possible, teachers are encouraged to observe each other informally for short periods of time and provide feedback. Thus, School-based Continuing Professional development (SBCPD) involves all teachers as active participants.
Cohort 3 of the ZEST project represents the end of Phase 1 (the Co-design phase). In Phase 1, we have worked with three cohorts of 200 teachers in three different Districts in Central Province to develop resources and ways of working. This will be followed by Phase 2: Scale up.
Cohort 3 was launched in December 2019 by the OU project team and WVZ for 11 schools from three zones in the Mumbwa District.
As well as supporting schools to implement the ZEST enhanced SBCPD programme using the resources provided for TGMs and to support the use of teaching approaches in their schools, the specific aims for Cohort 3 were to
• build capacity at a Provincial level in preparation for scale-up
• to introduce the final version of the materials, including those for year 2 of the programme
• test the use of Raspberry Pi computers as a way of providing access to digital materials and to build a network of school ICT ‘champions’
• to develop a detailed Implementation Guide to support the leaders of SBCPD at provincial, District, Zone and School level
• to work with the District to establish ways to integrate school support into their existing monitoring and support practices
• to prepare for scale-up by inducting cohorts 1-3 into year 2 of the programme and introducing two new Districts
• to engage the Ministry of General Education (MOGE) with a focus on sustainability for and beyond scale-up.
This Cohort 3 evaluation report complements the Year 4 annual report and logframe data submitted to the Scottish Government in April 2021, 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). The Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 evaluations focused on refining the processes and the resources. The Cohort 3 evaluation seeks to understand the issues surrounding scale-up and to produce recommendations which will ensure its success and sustainability beyond ZEST (completion date: March 2022).
Evidence for this evaluation includes an independent evaluation exercise undertaken in all 11 Cohort 3 schools in November 2020. For this we adopted the same methodology as the baseline study and the Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 evaluations, and the aim was to gather data to enable us to report the measures identified in the logframe.

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