In February 2023, the USAID Transforming Teacher Education Activity (TTE) facilitated a joint planning meeting between Chalimbana University and its associated demonstration school, Chalimbana Primary School. The purpose was to revive their collaborative relationship, and the meeting was attended by important stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) Director of Teacher Education and Specialized Services (TESS), a USAID Senior Education Advisor, university and primary school leadership, district officials, and TTE staff.
Thanks to the joint planning meeting, a mutually beneficial relationship was reestablished between the university and the demonstration school. Student teachers from the university can now gain valuable literacy teaching experience at the demonstration school, and in turn, the school’s teachers can learn and practice new literacy instruction approaches.
The success of the joint planning meeting did not end there. After the meeting, TTE handed over teaching and learning materials (TLM) to the primary school, including teacher’s guides, local language story books, and literacy flashcards. TTE, in collaboration with USAID Let’s Read Project, also organized a lesson demonstration, allowing class teachers and student teachers to see how to use the materials for literacy lesson planning and delivery. Mary Lesa, a student teacher at Chalimbana University had the following to say about her school experience at Chalimbana Primary School, “I have benefited a lot from the demonstration school. My class teacher at the school is always there to help me whenever I am not so sure of whatever I am going to teach. As a result, the demonstration school provides a conducive environment for me to improve my language teaching skills. Additionally, I am learning class management in a school set up. I have been a teacher on duty for a week, and I had a chance to engage in co-curricular activities such as sports.”
This activity was based on findings from a rapid needs assessment conducted by TTE in December 2021, which revealed that Zambian colleges and universities were no longer using demonstration schools for their student teachers to practice teaching and learn from experienced teachers. Demonstration schools also lacked the materials they needed for teachers to prepare and deliver quality literacy lessons. TTE’s intervention ensured that the mutually beneficial relationship between Chalimbana University and its demonstration school was revived, giving student teachers the opportunity to learn to teach reading better and providing teachers at the school with the materials they need to prepare quality literacy lessons for Zambian primary school learners.
Through TTE’s efforts, Chalimbana University and Chalimbana Primary School are once again collaborating to improve the quality of education in Zambia. The success of this joint planning meeting is a testament to the power of collaboration and the positive impact it can have on education.