Zambia: Quality ECE at heart of union’s work
The Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT), affiliated to EI, organised a multipartite workshop in Lusaka from 27-30 January to develop the union’s policy and strategy for the provision of quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) services in Zambia.
The workshop was underpinned by EI’s conviction that “each child has the fundamental right to learn and develop to his or her full potential, through equal access to quality (public) education regardless of age, gender, origin, ethnicity and social background”. The meeting involved various teacher organisations from Africa and beyond, including the Union of Education Norway (UEN), the Danish National Federation of Early Childhood Teachers and Youth Educators(BUPL), EI’s African regional office (EIRAF), and the South Africa Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU).
ECE moving to public schools
ECE in Zambia is mainly provided by non-government organisations (NGOs) and the private sector, with the State having very little or no control on the quality of education provided at that foundation stage of the Zambian citizen’s education. However, recently, the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education decided that ECE would be provided in selected public schools from 2014.
The ZNUT leadership believes that, just like national security and defense, education, from the early foundation to the tertiary level, should be public. So, in cooperation with other teachers’ unions such as EI, UEN, BUPL and SADTU, ZNUT developed a policy and strategy aiming to achieve public provision of quality ECE in Zambia. The policy, strategy and implementation plan will go through the union’s protocol for inputs and adoption.
Through this ECE policy, ZNUT shows that teacher unions are also concerned about the quality of the education they are providing for a better future of their society, as well as the important issues of improved salaries and working conditions.
EI: Children’s right to education begins with ECE
“All children have the right to education - a right that is expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “This right begins with ECE, and extends to primary, secondary, tertiary education, and life-long learning.”
Quality ECE is defended by EI within the framework of its global action campaign for accessible, free quality public education for all, he added.