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On Monday 24th February the ECSITE project handed over 80 bicycles to Community School teachers in Copperbelt province. All these teachers are volunteers and untrained, nevertheless very eager to improve their teaching and continue contributing to the educational needs of Zambia’s vulnerable children.

The targeted Community School teachers don’t have the minimum qualifications to enrol into teacher training colleges, and often lack the financial means to pay for the courses. ECSITE in cooperation with MESVTEE, and with funding from the European Union, supports them to study and get the necessary credentials by organising tutoring and paying their exam fees. The tutoring takes place after school hours in accredited learning centres. To facilitate the access to these centres and to reduce transport costs ECSITE provided all teachers targeted by the project in the districts of Ndola, Kitwe and Mufulira, with a bicycle. The teachers provided with the bicycles are those that are enrolled in a programme to upgrade their o’levels and to thus provide them with the minimum entry qualifications required by the teacher training colleges.

The handing over ceremony was carried out in the presence of the Provincial Education Officer Mr. Ngoma and was held at Kansenshi Secondary School in Ndola.
After a debriefing session about how to maintain and keep the bikes safe, the do’s and don’ts of the bicycles were explained. By the end of the handover ceremony it was clear to all recipients that the bikes are intended for educational purposes only, and not meant for ferrying of goods or people.

Although the volunteer community school teachers are the ones who physically walked away with the bikes it has been agreed with the schools and the Provincial Education Officer, through a written form, that the bicycle remains the property of the Community Schools they come from. This will allow their colleagues to visit Teacher Resource Centres and to access teaching and learning materials.

The Empowering Community Schools Through In-service Teacher Education (ECSITE), is a three-year programme that aims at raising the standards of teaching in community schools by improving the quality of teachers and access to teaching and learning materials in the Central and Copperbelt provinces. ECSITE is co-funded by the European Union and the Belgian Development Cooperation. The project kicked off on the 1st of January 2013 and is implemented in partnership with the Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) and the Ministry of Education.