Zambia Interactive Radio Instruction Reaches Out-of-School Children

For more than 25 years, Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) has been used to improve the quality of learning in classrooms. In Zambia, it is going beyond this intial purpose to deliver basic education to out-of-school children, especially orphans and other vulnerable children, in community learning centers.

Collaboration to Reach Out-of-School Kids
The Zambia Interactive Radio Instruction Program is a collaborative effort among communities, churches, nongovernmental organizations, and community-based organizations, the Ministry of Education, Peace Corps, and the Education Development Center. Each group has a key role in the development and implementation of the program:
  • The MOE's Educational Broadcasting Services develops and broadcasts the programs and develops supplementary materials.
  • The Ministry of Education trains mentors and provides supervision/ monitoring at participating learning centers.
  • Participating communities, churches, and nongovernmental organizations provide the learning center venues, mentors to facilitate the radio broadcasts, radio receivers, and some low-cost materials.
  • Communities also mobilize out-of-school children to attend the learning centers each day.
  • The Education Development Center has trained EBS writers and producers and assisted EBS to develop a training of trainers program for the Ministry of Education resource center staff, who in turn train mentors to run the community-based learning centers.
Quality Education Via the Radio
The Ministry of Education airs 100 daily 30-minute lessons for grade 1, and 200 for each of Grades 2, 3 and 4. Grade 5 programs will be completed by the end of 2003.

These programs, which allow children to complete a grade level in six months, follow the Zambian curriculum for mathematics, language arts in English, science and social studies.

Beyond Traditional Curricula to Life Skills
Due to the psychosocial needs of many of the listeners, the radio instruction programs include five-minute segments covering life skill themes (hygiene, nutrition, social values, etc.), and 15-minute programs are broadcast each day for teachers and other adults that address explicitly issues relating to HIV/AIDS in Zambia.

Results to Date
  • Approximately 300 centers covering all 9 provinces have been established, of which 32% of enrollees were orphans, 48.7% were female and only about 17% of enrollees had received schooling prior to receiving IRI.
  • A literacy skills assessment, based on the Ministry of Education's Grade 1 curriculum, indicates a mean score performance of pupils of 56.5% as compared to a target of 47% and the conventional primary school standard set for "passing" of 50% or better.
  • Interactive radio in community learning centers was formally adopted by the Ministry of Education as its primary means for reaching the 800,000 school-age children not in school.
EDC signed this Associate Award under dot-EDU in early 2003 for 21 months (Award No. under the dot-EDU Leader Award No: 520-A-00-02-00109-00)

For More Information, Contact:
DOT-COM: Michael Laflin
Vice President, General Manager, EDC Washington
Education Development Center
Tel: +1 202 572-3755

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Related DOT-COM Activity
Zambia - Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) for Out of School Youth
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