Author: Vera Wedekind, Margaret Mkandawire, Lucy Lisulu
Full Citation: Wedekind, V., Mkandawire, M., & Lisulu, L. (2015). Enabling excellence: Girls succeeding in Zambian community schools. Lusaka, Zambia: Time to Learn.
Overview: This case study examines two exemplary Zambian community schools where girls consistently achieve results above the national average in grade 7 national exams in order to build an evidence base for what works in improving girls’ performance in those exams.
Findings: Reviewing the dynamics present in each of these case schools allowed the research team to identify a number of factors that have been crucial to enabling these schools to support girls’ academic performance. Identification of these factors may help the Zambian government and its partners more effectively support other community schools and replicate their results. Because community schools where girls perform above average also feature strong performance by boys, the best practices identified by this case study have the potential to benefit all learners.
- Comparing the experience of the two schools, several common factors emerged that contribute to an environment that has supported girls to perform above the national average in grade 7 national exams: free remedial lessons in grade 7, a sense of pride in the school by the extended school community, public recognition of good learner performance, support and mentoring of teachers by the head teacher, close collaboration of school staff with parents and community, an overall inclusive treatment of girls at the school, school staff and the PCSC actively working to remove obstacles to girls’ education, and a close relationship with and material support of the MESVTEE.