Agnes Chibamba Chileshe, Sitwe Benson Mkandawire and Geoffrey K. Tambulukani, Primary Reading Programme versus Primary Literacy Programme. Exploring their Similarities and Differences

Keywords: Literacy, Language, Primary Reading Programme, Primary Literacy Programme, New Breakthrough to Literacy, Step Into English, Pathway, Read on Course, National Literacy Framework, PRP, PLP.


This article emerged from a study that focused on
some similarities and differences between the Primary
Reading Programme (PRP) and the Primary Literacy
Programme (PLP) in Zambia. The two programmes
were compared in terms of overall aims or purpose,
programme package, teaching and learning materials,
recommended teaching and learning methods,
classroom organisation, assessment patterns,
treatment of learners with varying abilities, and  other classroom practices. Researchers used analytic
research where official publications on PRP and PLP
were analysed and reviewed with respect to the focus of
the desk study. Gupta and Gupta (2011 p.11) contended
that “analytic research uses facts or information
already available, and analyse these to make to critical
evaluation of the material”. Among the similarities noted
were that both programmes aimed at improving literacy
levels in the country. Classrooms had talking walls with
various interactive materials and that both programmes
assessed learners at intervals. The factors that affected
PRP such as ill trained teachers, pupil absenteeism,
inadequate teaching materials, and negative attitudes
of some teachers towards a familiar language were also
prominent in PLP. The differences noted were that PRP
had more teaching and learning materials supplied to
schools especially in the early years than PLP, where some
schools were running the programme without teacher’s
guides across subject areas with inadequate pupil’s books.
PRP had four sub courses as compared to PLP which is
running from grade 1 to 7, with policy statements and an
oral course or literacy in English sentiments and in terms
of teaching methods in class, NBTL of PRP used more
analytic or whole language approach to teaching while
PLP utilised phonics or synthetic methods of teaching.
The article recommended based on good practices that in
future, the Ministry of General Education and other stake
holders should take precautionary measures to ensure
that all necessities were in place before introducing a new
literacy programme for early grades in the country.