Zambia Open Community Schools
Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) is a Non-Governmental and non-profit making organization mandated to complement the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education (MESVTEE) in the provision of quality education to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) especially the girl child and children with Special Education Needs (SEN).
ZOCS supports 524 community schools in 38 districts with an estimated population of 117, 000 learners (46, 800 boys and 70,200 girls). The learners are taught by over 2,340 volunteer teachers (936 male and 1, 404 female) who have dedicated their time to ensuring access to education for all children in their communities.
The organization in its work is directed by an Annual Work Plan derived from the ZOCS 2011-2015 Strategic Plan and from communities through Annual General Meetings. The strategic plan reflects the three pillars on which ZOCS builds its approach. These pillars are,
- Capacity building
- Service delivery
For all practical purposes, ZOCS have been advocating for inclusive access to quality education for the OVC especially the girl child and children with Special Education Needs (SEN). While Zambia has made strides through the provision of free primary education and eliminating compulsory school uniform and fees, access to education is not yet universal.
Barriers in accessing education include long distances covered to reach schools, the negative impact of HIV and AIDS, high poverty levels in communities, lack of infrastructure and limited schools especially in rural areas. Challenges faced by learners with special education needs include inaccessible infrastructure, lack of relevant teaching and learning tools and stigma within communities.
ZOCS believes in complementing the MESVTEE through the provision of quality, free and compulsory access to education especially the OVC and SEN.
Quality is guaranteed when we provide basic training to our volunteer teachers, provision of teaching and learning materials to our schools as well as training of Parent Community School Committees (PCSCs) in school management and resource mobilization skills and infrastructure development, water and sanitation facilities.