Primary Education

The Zambian education system has a 7-5-4 structure, namely 7 years at primary school, 2 and 3 years at junior and higher secondary school respectively, and 4 years at university for undergraduate degrees. While the intention is that school education should be mandatory for all, sadly many poorer children drop out along the way.

Middle Education

The first 2 years of secondary school are spent at middle schools. Many students go off to work after this, because the prevailing culture is that they have completed a decent education.

Secondary Education

Those who elect to study on at higher secondary school, must first write a transitional selection examination. Thereafter, they may spend 4 years in an academic environment, where they hope to reach the standard required for their further university education. 

Vocational Education

The Zambian government regards the development of the nation’s skill base as fundamental to its economic growth. With this in mind, the technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training program is being redeveloped, to realize the full potential of the nation's people.

Tertiary Education

[Zambia Education] There are just 5 universities in the whole of Zambia, namely the Copperbelt University in Kitwe, the Zambia Adventist University in Monze, the Northwest University in Ndola, and the Cavendish University and the University of Zambia in Lusaka. 

The last-mentioned is the oldest  having been established in 1964, and is illustrated here. It has schools of agricultural sciences, education, engineering, humanities & social sciences, law, mines, medicine, natural sciences, and veterinary medicine.


Average years of schooling of adults    5.5                                                                                                           [58th of 100]
Children out of school, primary     227,759                                                                                                         [22nd of 126]
Duration of compulsory education    7 years                                                                                                      [135th of 171]
Duration of education > Primary level    7                                                                                                          [19th of 181]
Duration of education > Secondary level    5                                                                                                     [170th of 181]
Education enrolment by level > Tertiary level    24,553                                                                                  [92nd of 150]
Education spending (% of GDP)    2%                                                                   [125th of 132]
Education, primary completion rate    78                                                             [85th of 148]
Enrolment ratio > Secondary level    19.1%                                                          [121st of 135]
Female enrolment share > Secondary level    44.4%                                          [138th of 170]
Geographical aptitude results    63.159                                                                 [150th of 191]
Illiteracy rates by sex, aged 15+    19.3%                                                               [55th of 138]

SOURCE: The Geography Zone
Primary school girls out of school    23%                                                              [45th of 99]
Public spending on education, total > % of government expenditure     14.8 %                                                                                 [33rd of 103]
Public spending per student > Primary level    4.7                                             [113rd of 126]
Pupil-teacher ratio, primary     51.08                                                                     [13th of 159]
School life expectancy > Male    7.4 years                                                             [86th of 97]
School life expectancy > Total    7 years                                                                [97th of 110]
Tertiary enrollment    2.5%                                                                                      [129th of 151]

Women to men parity index, as ratio of literacy rates, aged 15-24    0.91                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                       [6th of 138]

SOURCES: UNESCO; World Development Indicators database; Source: UNESCO UIS Data | UNESCO Institute for Statistics; United Nations Human Development Programme; The Geography Zone; Household survey data, net enrolment data from UNESCO, and data from UNICEF country offices; UNESCO Institute for Statistics