Youth and adult literacy in Zambia, alternative strategies for financing, policy formulation, curriculum design and monitoring

Keywords: Adult literacy, adult literacy policy, curriculum design, financing, literacy assessment


This qualitative exploratory article attempted to engage with the subject of youth and adult literacy in Zambia. The inspiration was based on the author's experience in the field including supervision and marking of post-graduate work on youth and adult literacy. Most of the reports on youth and adult literacy tend to focus on the problems and not the solutions. Underscoring the importance of literacy to both an individual, the community and society as a whole, this article presents possible interventions in youth and adult literacy learning programmes in Zambia. The interventions are in form of alternative strategies for financing, policy formulation, curriculum design, and monitoring of literacy programmes. The interventions on financing include the introduction of government grants to literacy providers and the development of sustainable self-financing based literacy programmes. Policy formulation to include research-based data, a decentralized and participatory process. Stakeholder engagement is crucial for enhancing political will in the formulation of adult literacy policy in this regard. Similarly, curriculum design would require a decentralized participatory process and give attention to the growing diversity of adult learners in terms of needs and also both the local and global context of adult learning. Where digital skills, collaborative learning, active engagement and knowledge construction, problem-based learning, and critical thinking are emphasized. The monitoring of literacy programmes includes the reorganization of literacy programmes to allow for effective monitoring mechanisms.