Zambia Welcomes Government Delegations to Learn about Successful Implementation of Catch Up (Teaching at the Right Level)

Government officials on a study visit in Zambia during school visits. Photo: VVOB Zambia

Government officials from Angola, Eritrea, Somaliland, and Uganda made a study visit to Zambia from February 27 to March 3. The focus of the visit was to observe and learn from the Government-led Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) program, called Catch Up. During this visit, the officials witnessed the implementation of TaRL in a classroom and gained insights from Zambia’s Ministry of Education and other stakeholders supporting the program.

Mr. Hazemba Mahuba presenting about the TaRL approach. Photo: VVOB Zambia

“The positive results from schools implementing the Catch Up intervention is what keeps motivating the government to scale up TaRL with the vision to be present in all provinces and schools in Zambia in the near future,” said Mahuba Hazemba, Government Liaison Officer- TaRL Africa. TaRL has been successfully adapted, piloted, and scaled across various Sub-Saharan countries in the past five years. The approach has proven to be an effective tool that governments and organizations can leverage to ensure children graduate from primary school with fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. Zambia is a prime example of this success story right from the pilot phase in 2016. Led by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with VVOB-education for development, TaRL Africa, and UNICEF, the Catch Up program is currently being implemented in close to half of the country’s primary schools across eight of Zambia’s ten provinces (Southern, Eastern, Lusaka, Northern, Muchinga, Western, Luapula and Central Provinces), with plans to scale up to all provinces by the end of 2024.

Delegates observing TaRL classroom activities. Photo: VVOB Zambia

“We were impressed by the level by which the learning problem is well understood by the government at all levels and by the level of commitment to address the challenge,” said Evaristo João Pedro, Director of the National Directorate for Young Adults and Adults Education (DNEJA), Angola.

Officials from Angola, Eritrea, and Somaliland were interacting with the program for the first time, while those from Uganda had already experienced TaRL in their country through projects in multiple districts in operation since 2020.

“We have seen improvements in literacy and numeracy outcomes in the districts where TaRL is being implemented in Uganda. We look forward to implementing lessons from Zambia on how we can improve the program and more importantly scale up to other districts,” said Dr. Cleophas Mugenyi, Commissioner, Basic Education Department, Ministry of Education & Sports Uganda.

“The success of TaRL in Zambia and other countries serves as proof that governments and organizations can utilize this approach to reduce learning loss and ensure that children acquire the necessary foundational skills to excel in their academic pursuits,” said Mr. Joel Kamoko, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in charge of Technical Services in the Ministry of Education (MoE), Zambia.

The officials returned to their respective countries with valuable lessons, insights, and inspiration to adapt and scale up the TaRL approach in order to improve children’s learning outcomes in their contexts.

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