Population: 11.799 million (2006)
GDP per capita: US$910 (2006)
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.434
Unemployment Levels:
50% (2000 est.)
Key Economic Sectors: Mining, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism
Principal Exports: Cobalt, Copper, Cotton, Cut Flowers, Electric Appliances, Hardwood, Mineral Products
HIV & AIDS Prevalence: 15.16% (2007 Estimate)
Gross Primary Enrolment Ratio: 117 (2006)
Gross Secondary Enrolment Ratio: 28 (2002)
Gross Tertiary Enrolment Ratio:
2 (1999)

Source: Country context data was obtained from a variety of sources: (CIA, 2008; SADC, 2008; UNAIDS, 2008; UNDP, 2008; UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2006)


Historical Background

ACCORDING TO archaeological evidence, early human communities roamed the Zambian countryside between one and two million years ago, while early iron-age peoples arrived from further north at roughly the time of Christ. The ancestors of the modern Tongas appeared a thousand years later, but other Bantu tribes currently living in Zambia only arrived in the 17th and 18th centuries...Read more.

National Education System Overview

School education in Zambia is divided into primary schooling, which lasts for seven years and leads to the Certificate of Primary Education, and secondary schooling. The first seven years of education, from age 7 to 14, are compulsory. There are three types of high schools in the country - government-run high schools, either day or boarding schools; grant-aided high schools, run by faith-based agencies; and private high schools (boarding and day schools) run by private agencies and individuals on a commercial basis (Republic of Zambia-Ministry of Education, 2005). Higher education is provided by three public universities (one of which only opened its doors in September 2008) and 14 teacher training colleges, which fall under the Ministry of Education, and 227 technical and vocational institutions which fall under the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Authority (TEVETA).

Type of Higher Education Institutions     

Number of Institutions

Publicly funded universities 3
Publicly funded HE Institutions and Colleges 43
Privately funded HE Institutions 32 registered with the MoE (227 Technical and Vocational Institutes)

Source: Zambia MoE questionnaire response

Policy Context

There are various relevant pieces of legislation, regulation, and policy governing education in Zambia. Goals and objectives for the higher education sector have been set through consultative processes, involving all stakeholders (including civil society, non-governmental organizations, and corporate partners. In addition, Zambia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2007) identifies a series of broad roles for HE (MRCI report). 

Higher Education Legislation

Brief Description

The Education Act of 1966, supported by the Zambia Statutory Instrument No. 43 of 1993                             Provides a legal framework for the development of the education system in Zambia (basic, high school, college education, and university education) to date.
The Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (Amendment) Act, 2005 Provides the necessary legal framework for the development of TEVET in general and the establishment of the TEVETA and Management Boards for training institutions in particular. It also provides for the active participation of the private sector in the provision of TEVET programmes in Zambia
The University Act No. 11 of 1999 Provides a legal framework for university education in Zambia. It stipulates the legal requirements for the establishment and governance of university education. It also defines the conditions and parameters for establishing private institutions and for maintenance of academic standards.

List of Statutory Bodies in the Higher Education Sector

Statutory Bodies   

 Brief description        

The Technical Education and Vocation Training Authority (TEVETA)                             The regulatory body for Technical and vocational training institutions.
The Examination Council of Zambia The body responsible for regulating examinations
University Councils he bodies responsible for overseeing university education within the institutions themselves


Funding Data

Public Expenditure on Education as a % of Gross National Income (GNI) 1.9%
% Education budget allocated to higher education 17.6% (2005)
Loan/Grant scheme in place Yes

Source: SARUA (2008) – Pillay report

Science and Technology

Key Indicators


R&D Intensity [The ratio of Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)]  0.1% (2004)     
ISI Output (Number of papers published in the 7500+ journals of the ISI Web of Science)           1990-1995:510 1996-2001: 518
2002-2007: 696

Source: SARUA (2008) – CREST Report