The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa bordered by Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The area of present-day Zambia was inhabited by hunter-gatherers, and the first Europeans arrived in the 18th century. The Territory of Northern Rhodesia formed the current borders of Zambia. The Territory was administered by the British South Africa Company from 1891 until it became a British colony in 1923. It remained a British colony until October 1964 when it declared independence and changed its name to Zambia. The population of Zambia is 11,477,447 and the literacy rate is 80.6%. English is the official language and the language of instruction in schools, with Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages also spoken in the country.
The educational system of Zambia is based on the British model and is overseen by the Ministry of General Education. Compulsory education begins at age 7 and ends at age 14. Most students drop out of school at this point because fees are charged for the remaining grades.
Primary and Secondary Education
Lower primary school is 4 years beginning at age 7. Upper primary school is 3 years long and students are awarded a Certificate of Primary Education upon completion. Junior secondary school (Grades 8 and 9) is two years long and, upon completion, students are awarded a Junior Secondary School Certificate. Senior secondary school (Grades 10-12) is three years and after completion students sit for the Zambian School Certificate Examination or the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE O-Levels).
Post-secondary programs are available at the 2 public universities: University of Zambia and Copperbelt University, as well as colleges, institutes and teacher training schools. There are many certificate and diploma programs ranging from 1 to 3 years offered at institutes and colleges.
University admission requires 5 passes at credit level on the Zambian School Certificate Examination or 5 GCE O-Level passes. Some 2-year diplomas from a college may be accepted for admission. The universities offer 1-3 year diploma programs in law, education, social work, and technology. Most bachelor degree programs are 4 years long and some specialized programs, including engineering, agriculture, and architecture are 5 years long. Master's programs are 15 months to 2 years long and require a bachelor's degree for admission. Doctoral programs are at least 3 years long following a master's program.