Adult Education in Zambia during the Colonial Period: Challenges in the Post-Independence Era*
Presented by M. Luchembe Lecturer – Department of Adult Education and Extension Studies University of Zambia
* The paper was presented at the Centre for the Study of International Cooperation in Education (CICE), Hiroshima University in Japan, on 22nd May 2009.
Abstract This paper is entitled Adult Education in Zambia during the Colonial Period: Challenges in the post-Independence Era. The paper discusses the main features of both the colonial and pre-colonial adult education before examining the challenges that Zambia experienced upon attaining independence. It observes that the colonial adult education did not deal with the realities of the Zambian environment. Consequently, it completely destroyed the functional aspect of traditional adult education while it furthered the interests of the colonialists. It also explains how historical factors influenced adult education in newly independent Zambia. For example, negative attitudes towards practical work that began during the colonial era continued even after independence just as the emphasis on the teaching of literacy at the expense of other forms of adult education persisted. Finally, the paper proposes blending compatible aspects of indigenous knowledge systems with ‘modern’ adult education in order to meet society’s needs and aspirations.
Introduction The paper sheds some light on adult education in Zambia during the colonial era and the subsequent challenges that the country faced upon attainment of political independence. It is divided into four sections. The first section is the introduction which provides brief information on Zambia and the definition of adult education. The next section discusses the main features of both pre-colonial and colonial adult education in Zambia. The third section, which is the main thrust of the paper, discusses the challenges that adult education and the country faced soon after independence. The conclusion is the last and final section of this paper. The main thesis of the paper is that colonial adult education had an effect on post colonial adult education and life in general in Zambia. In this regard, the paper provides answers to the following specific questions: i. What were the challenges that Zambia faced in the provision of adult education at independence? ii. In which way(s) did these challenges affect society and/or individuals? Zambia is a country situated in Central Africa or sub-Saharan Africa. She gained her independence on 24th October 1964. Before then, it was called Northern Rhodesia under the British colonial rule. It is a landlocked country surrounded by eight countries namely Malawi, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe. Others are Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia. In terms of size, Zambia covers a land area of 752,614 square kilometres. According to the 2006 Population Census, the total population of the country was slightly above 11.5 million thereby giving a population density of approximately 11 persons per square kilometre. Zambia is a low income country and for over four decades, it has largely depended on the export of copper for its foreign exchange requirements. The poor performance of both the Zambian and World economy, has negatively affected the well being of Zambia. For example, at the moment Zambia faces many challenges in the field of education because the economy is unable to finance its operations adequately. Zambia has a three-tier education system. It comprises the seven-year primary education, five-year secondary education and post secondary education. The poor performance of the economy has contributed to the inability of government to meet the demand for education. Consequently, this has continued to exacerbate the high levels of illiteracy. According to the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, Zambia’s literacy level was estimated at 55.3 %. The report...
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