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The Problem The Solution Donate and Sponsor Edulution Video
 
The Problem
 
Children throughout developing countries, including Zambia, experience difficulties with mathematics. Teachers mostly teach traditionally using the ‘chalk and talk’ method and, in order to keep up with the fairly inflexible syllabus, they need to teach at a relentless pace. In Zambia class sizes are large with an estimated average teacher:pupil ratio of 49:1 in primary schools and 56:1 at lower secondary level compared to 29:1 and 21:1 in lower middle income countries1. However in some schools in the South Luangwa area it is not unusual to see over 80, and even occasionally 100 pupils in one class. 
 
A child who misses a day or two of school may miss learning about a particular topic entirely. The brighter pupils manage but the slower ones can be left behind and struggling to keep up.  With large classes and too few teachers and classrooms there is little room in the system anything otherwise. 
 
A child's failure to succeed in mathematics starts early. Misunderstanding and confusion in a basic level topic such as multiplication will affect the ability to cope with even simple questions later. Simply put - if a child cannot work out an area if they missed learning multiplication.  Mental maths sessions are rare and there is no time for children to apply or put into practise whilst they learn.
 
How do Zambian pupils compare with elsewhere in Africa?
 
Data Sources and Definitions
1:  Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) (see data table for year) 
 

 

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