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The Teacher Training Support Programme started in 2008 and ran until the end of 2013. The specific goal of this programme was to improve the quality of pre-service and in-service teacher training for primary education in Zambia, including distance learning.

The programme was based on several pillars that help to improve the quality of education through teacher training and development. Introducing systems of lifelong learning in colleges will improve learning and teaching skills. The programme also supported the development, implementation and improvement of distance learning. Lastly, the programme stimulated access to qualitative materials and methods through the use of ICT.


The Teacher Training Support Programme collaborated with the Zambian ministry of education, the strategic partner – in particular with the Directorates of Education and Specialised Services and Distance Education. The twelve institutes for teacher training (including the National In-Service Teachers College (NISTCOL) and the Zambia Institute of Special Education (ZAMISE)) were our operational partners. The programme tried to involve other relevant stakeholders in its activities as well.


The Teacher Training Support Programme had four main areas of support: continuing professional development, distance learning, ICT in education and Community Schools.

Continuing Professional Development

The programme strengthens lifelong learning in teacher training. Every teacher training college has set up its own committee on continuous professional development. Through action plans they try to improve education and learning in their institute. VVOB guides them in this process. Representatives of every teacher training college meet several times a year to share their expertise, good practices and experiences.

This component of the programme is aimed at capacity building of college leadership, Principals, Vice-Principals, Management, coordinators of relevant committees, among others. This capacity building entails creating a shared vision, to develop and plan for improved teaching and learning. This also helps to monitor and evaluate the improvement outcomes, and create a sustainable, supportive learning environment.

The MESVTEE-VVOB programme supports college leadership by:

  • Setting up and implementing a support programme to strengthen college leadership to continuously improve the teaching and learning within their institutions. This includes facilitating annual seminars/activities on educational leadership within the partnership of VVOB-MESVTEE, and Leadership and Learning Centre (USA).
  • Supporting college leadership to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate college action plans to improve teaching and learning. This is, for example, done by coordinating national Task Team meetings or by supporting the development and implementation of Monitoring and Evaluation systems.

In turn, the college leadership will carry out activities to create a supportive learning environment at college level. In this way they ensure and support effective Continuous Professional Development, promoting collaboration within and outside the college, and monitoring impact.


As I am working on the Action Research tasks and preparing for the next session I realise what a wonderful learning experience I have had. I have learnt a lot. I, like other lecturers, am being equipped with necessary knowledge and skills to conduct research that can influence policy, both at local and national level. I know that my single action research study is going to be helpful in improving my practice of teaching/lecturing and possibly that of other lecturers.
Maureen K Kanchebele Sinyangwe, Malcolm Moffat College of Education


Distance Learning

Supported by VVOB, all teacher training institutes are setting up distance learning programmes. Coordinators of distance learning gather on a regular basis to exchange experiences and to be trained, thereby improve their skills.

This component aims at improving the capacity/competencies of Distance Education coordinators in the development, implementation, support and guidance of an Open Distance Learning (ODL) programme for college staff and learner support staff of Teacher Resource Centres.

The MESVTEE-VVOB programme will support the Distance Education coordinators:

  • To learn with and from each other in leading, guiding, supporting the development, implementation, improvement and/or innovation of Distance Education in their College, for example by coordinating learning events, stimulating innovative ODeL practices, supporting the development and implementation of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E).
  • To build the capacity of Teacher Resource Centre Coordinators and Education Standards Officers-ODL on providing learner support to Distance Education students, for example by undertaking sensitisation activities towards the National Education Support Team.

The MESVTEE-VVOB programme will further strengthen MESVTEE Directorate of Distance Education (DODE):

  • To support Distance Education coordinators with the development, implementation, improvement and/or innovation of distance learning at College level by providing needs-based support, for example through training of trainers and the dissemination of quality guidelines.

In turn Distance Education coordinators will coordinate the development, implementation and improvement of ODL programmes within their college and implement an M&E system. The Ministry (DODE) will improve guidance in colleges that plan to offer ODL programmes.


I was able to go further than my initial plan to launch and implement 'mymathlab' and sign a memorandum with the South African Institute for Distance Education. This would not have been possible had VVOB not taken me on board on the exposure visit through the VISIT4CHANGE programme.
Lemmy Kangwa, NISTCOL


ICT in Education

VVOB also works on ICT in education in Zambia. The programme focuses on the equipment (laptops, beamers, network infrastructure) as well as on the technical and pedagogical support. Within ICT, the programme mostly works bottom-up: teachers are guided while trying new techniques and material. Instructive examples are shared with the broader education community. Within that framework, the programme now invests in setting up a Zambian Knowledge Centre. This (digital) centre will provide colleges better access to qualitative education materials.

This component focuses on improving the capacity of a workgroup including librarians to establish knowledge centres at the Colleges of Education and a selected number of Teacher Resource Centres (6) that promote the advertising, discovery, access, dissemination and use of information and data to lecturers, student-teachers and teachers.

The MESVTEE-VVOB programme will support the ministry through a working group with senior staff members, responsible for pre-service, in-service teacher training, teacher resource centres, libraries and innovative teaching and learning:

  • To formulate a clear vision on how libraries at the Colleges of Education and the Teacher Resource Centres can grow into knowledge centres addressing key concerns of access to information for teachers, lecturers and distance learners; by organising meetings and developing guidelines on knowledge centres.
  • To develop and implement a digital learning platform at libraries at the Colleges of Education and a selected number of Teacher Resource Centres, by assisting with a MOODLE environment, by giving train-the trainer workshops and by creating new partnerships.

In turn MoE will support Colleges and Teacher Resource Centres to establish knowledge centres. Librarians from colleges and Teacher Resource Centres will promote and increase access and use of the knowledge centres for clientele in their organizations including lecturers and student teachers, in-service trainers, distance learners and teachers.

Community Schools

Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) is in the process of developing and implementing a framework that caters for a variety of community school teacher development initiatives, some of which will result in an official teaching certificate.

The MESVTEE-VVOB programme supports the ministry’s working group comprising staff responsible for pre-service and in-service teacher training:

  • To develop a framework for training of Community School teachers to upgrade their teaching skills. This will be done by undertaking a variety of activities such as assisting in mapping of existing initiatives, organising round table sessions, meetings, involving other stakeholders.
  • To implement the framework developed.

MESVTEE will develop and approve the framework, and coordinate the implementation process involving different stakeholders.


We need to find innovative ideas of improving community schools, even if it’s one idea..we have a way of influencing change by presenting memos through cabinet.
Mrs Ruth Mubanga, Director Education Specialised Services, MESVTEE


Some results achieved

  • All teacher training institutes and other stakeholders exchange information about lifelong learning and continuous professional development.
  • All colleges have jointly developed a teaching and learning policy, which is now used as a standard for the pursued education quality.
  • VVOB supports the committees in the colleges with their planning, application and evaluation of education quality improvement (action plans).
  • All distance learning stakeholders have developed quality guidelines for distance learning.
  • All teacher training institutes were instructed how to write modules for distance learning. A surprising and welcome side effect is that threecolleges have started developing modules together.
  • VVOB has invested in computers, printers, beamers and laptops.
  • The personnel of the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) received basic ICT training.
  • The staff of the District Resource Centres received ICT training.
  • The programme published the toolkit ‘Tales of the Grasshoppers’, in which pioneers tell their story about the use of ICT in education.
  • Instructive examples are published in the programme newsletter ‘Teach and Learn’ and on the programme blog.