Zambia's education is generally regarded as a basic human right and is vital to the development of a nation. Education empowers people, enabling them to be proactive, to control their lives and broaden economical and social opportunities. The education system in Zambia has suffered a decline over the past two decades as a result of a drop in national revenue, linked to the low copper prices and substantial increase in fuel costs.
Despite this set back the Zambian government has made serious effort to recover and reform the education sector. The Zambian government is committed to the “Millennium Development Goals and Education For All” (EFA) objectives.
The Ministry of Education is supportive of free primary education that has resulted in a massive increase in enrolment. The Government has recognized in the newly created Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) the role of education in poverty reduction and the need for early childhood education. In addition, the Ministry of Education is fully aware of the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Though a great deal needs to be done for orphaned children, there is a sound platform to work from.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic remains one of the most formidable challenges within the country. Unfortunately, there remains a lack of HIV/AIDS education and support services for students and teachers. Teachers are just beginning to come forward for HIV counseling and testing.
Decentralization of the education sector has slowly progressed since 1990. Education Boards for basic schools, high schools and teacher training institutions have been established. These boards, however, do not yet have the full authority to be effective. Zambia despite its reforms in education is still not adequately investing in education. The National Development Plans targets a 4% of the GDP but depends on external sources to reach this target.