Schools in Zambia

The Zambian back to school guide - types of schools in Zambia, the Zambian school structure, its curriculum and examination boards and a school review

Pupils studying outside
Baobab College pupils

There are many forms schools take in Zambia and you’d be forgiven for thinking the education system is a little complex. As it’s back to school time, here’s our guide on different types of schools in Zambia, the Zambian school structure, its curriculum and examination boards. We close with a special focus on some private schools in Zambia.

Types of schools in Zambia

  • Government schools – owned and run by the Zambian Government
  • Church schools – private faith based schools
  • Community schools – private schools established and run by parents, teachers and local communities
  • Private schools – private schools that are run as a business enterprise
  • International schools – private schools run and supported by the diplomatic community

The school structure in Zambia
Pre schools, also known as nursery schools
Primary schools from grade one to seven
– Lower primary is grade one to four
– Upper primary is grade five to seven
Secondary schools
– Junior secondary is grade eight and nine (also known as form one and two)
– Upper secondary is grade ten to twelve (also known as form three, four and five)
– AS and A Level (also known as sixth form)

Examination boards in Zambia

  • In their final year of primary school, grade seven pupils sit the Examination Council of Zambia examinations
  • At the end of junior secondary schooling, grade nine pupils sit Examination Council of Zambia exams
  • All Government schools and some private schools follow the Examination Council of Zambia curriculum and examinations
  • Most private schools follow the Cambridge International GCSE curriculum and examination system with AS and A levels for sixth form pupils
  • In international schools grade twelve pupils may follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and examinations

Government schools in Zambia
The Government does not run any preschools or nursery schools so all pre-schools in Zambia are run as church, community or private schools. Most primary and secondary schools in Zambia are run and managed by the Government. So called “basic schools” teach years one to nine, as year nine is considered to be a decent level of schooling for the majority of children. However, schooling is only free up to year seven and most children drop out at this stage.

Private schools in Zambia
The private school system began largely as a result of Christian mission efforts during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Private schools usually operate under the British or American schooling systems. Most private schools are run as a business in order to maintain their high standards. They are therefore fee paying schools. Fees range significantly in Zambia, depending on the school standards, culture and demand for the school itself. Only Government primary schools offer free education up to grade seven, the end of primary school.

Private church schools are affiliated to a Christian denomination, mainly Catholic, Adventist, Baptist, Salvation Army or other Christian faiths. Some schools are Islamic, Baha’i or other faiths.

Private community schools are initiatives taken on by concerned parents and teachers. Historically these schools began in rural areas where schools did not exist, like in farming communities for instance. Now community schools are also in the urban areas where parents may feel the Government is failing to provide high enough standards in schooling.

Schools on
What we want to shout about are the private schools that have raised the standard of education in Zambia. In many cases, they have made primary and secondary education in Zambia better than education abroad.

It is education that will take us toward a brighter future and that is why, as a developing nation we have a deep interest in education. These schools allow our children to not only be literate, but also creative. They give children the capacity to have original ideas, developing them for future life as adults in a fast changing world they need to contribute to. While the developed world is trying to establish education systems that treat each pupil as an individual, these innovative and courageous schools are already practicing it.

Baobab CollegePrimary school children at Baobab College

Early years: The Baobab pre-school department has a Bush Babies class for two to three year olds, a Sugar Bush class for three year olds and a Mulberry Bush class for four year olds. This department follows the British National Curriculum Early Years programme and works on creating a happy, friendly and stimulating environment for young children to grow and develop.

Primary school: Baobab College has established itself as one of Zambia’s leading independent day and boarding schools. Baobab has created a caring atmosphere in which each child receives the individual attention he or she needs to reach his or her full potential. Baobab College accepts boarders from age six.

Secondary school: Baobab College is an ‘international school for the whole community’. This prestigious and highly committed centre of learning, based just outside Lusaka in Zambia, offers the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), with AS and A levels for sixth form pupils. More information here.

British International Primary School (BIPS)British International School pupil

Pre-school: The BIPS infant school in Lusaka, Zambia, caters for children aged between two and seven. It follows the Early Years Foundation Stage, and Key Stage one of the English National Curriculum.

Primary school: The (BIPS) primary school caters for children aged between seven and eleven, providing a quality education to local and expatriate children in Lusaka, Zambia. More information here.

Chreso SchoolsChreso School Zambia pupils

Chreso Schools provide quality faith based pre-school, primary and secondary education to children across Zambia. The schools are run by Chreso Ministries which falls under the social arm of the Gospel Outreach Fellowship. Chreso schools include Christian Vision Academy, Fountain Gate Christian Academy, Gospel Outreach Christian Academy, Lumwana Mines School and Mubuyu Christian Academy. More information here.

Chudleigh House SchoolChudleigh House School classroom Zambia

Pre-school: The pre-school forms the foundation of their philosophy, ‘towards a brighter future’. Here these young children are taught professionally within a loving, fun, happy and caring environment.

Primary school: The school offers small classes and an enviable teacher – pupil ratio. This allows teachers to work with and understand each individual pupil.

Secondary school: At this level each child is encouraged to reach his or her maximum academic potential. More information here.

Italian School of LusakaItalian School classroom Lusaka Zambia

Kindergarten: The school pays unique attention to each child to ensure they receive the very best of educational help. The Italian School is centrally located in quiet and secure grounds on a large landscaped 20 acre plot. Pre-school classes follow the Montessori method, and reception classes follow the British international curriculum.

Primary school: The well established school offers the globally recognised British international primary school curriculum as part of a structured teaching program in Zambia. There are lots of opportunities for project-based research and discussion, as well as sports and other outdoor activities.

Secondary school: Experienced staff seek to create an environment in which every student is well equipped for their future. The school is an accredited Cambridge Examinations Centre for IGCSE (Cambridge) examinations. It also offers a variety of sports, the International Youth Award and a Community Support program. More information here.

Little Lulu’s SchoolLittle Lulu's School Zambia

Pre-school: Little Lulu’s Day Care and Pre-school in Kabulonga, Lusaka, uses an abundance of perceptual games and toys to help pupils develop learning skills in a happy, creative environment, to get ready for primary school.

Primary school: The primary school follows the Zambia Basic Education Course Syllabus for all subjects except English, for which the British syllabus is followed. Pupils develop their creativity and life skills in preparation for success as adults. More information here.

Lusaka West School Secondary SchoolLusaka West School graduation Zambia

This is a co-educational school with a Christian ethos. It offers both boarding and day school facilities, with most pupils being boarders. The school, set in immaculate surrounds, offers the Examination Council of Zambia syllabus and the Cambridge syllabus. It is accredited as an Examination Centre for local Zambian examinations and Cambridge (external) examinations. More information here.

Metropolitan SchoolMetropolitan School parade Zambia

Pre-school: The pre-School accepts children from the age of three to six, offering nursery, middle class and pre-grade classes in Lusaka, Zambia.

Primary school: The school is a well reputed co-education school where grade seven pupils sit the Examination Council of Zambia examinations.

Secondary school: The secondary school runs from grade eight to eleven. At grade nine pupils sit the Examination Council of Zambia exams. At grade eleven pupils sit Cambridge International G.C.S.E O levels exams. More information here.

Tina Trust SchoolTina Trust School science class Zambia

Pre-school: Early childhood pre-school education has an emphasis on constructive play and meaningful activities.

Primary school: The primary school thrives on a diverse family of learners and staff. It focuses on nurturing young children through targeted activities inside and outside the classroom, successfully enhancing the learning opportunities of every child.

Secondary school: The focus of secondary education at Tina Trust School is on the individual, in small classes. Life skills, creativity and preparation for success in a fast moving world are vital. The curriculum is extensive with academic, cultural, social and sporting programmes included to develop a well rounded pupil. More information here.

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