Increasingly sector wide approaches including direct

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Increasingly, sector-wide approaches including direct budget support have overtaken discrete projects as the dominant aid modality. Thus it has become about indicators, value for money, and explaining expenditure patterns rather than patterns of learning and language and pedagogy. It is about analysing whether targets are achieved and not about the appropriateness of the targets in directing educational development (Riddell 2003).
12 2.3Free education in Zambia Free basic education (FBE) was introduced in Zambia in February 2002 when the government declared that primary education would be free for all in Grades 17. A move rooted in the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, the FBE policy was reflected in Zambia’s 2002 PRSP, which highlighted the elimination of user fees for basic education as a way to reduce poverty. The 20032007 strategic plan for the education sector also called for the abolition of school fees. The implementation of the FBE policy was based on a set of indicators, risks and assumptions reflected in Table 2. The aim was to substantially increase the gross enrolment rate and general delivery of quality education service provision. The intentions of the policy were good, but there were concerns that the quality of education had been compromised in in order to meet the HIPC trigger points as the Zambian government underestimated its spending needs (Global Campaign for Education 2004). This was further exacerbated by the fact that the abolition of user fees at basic education level in Zambia constituted a marked reduction in income for the schools and may have had more far-reaching consequences on service delivery than anticipated. This has created considerable financial pressure on the education system (HDAR 2008) which, as a consequence, is limping when it comes to meeting some of the key performance indicators. The four key performance indicators that measure progress made in access, efficiency, quality and equity are the: Net Enrolment rate (NER) Completion rate Pupilteacher ratio Gender Parity Index (GPI). NER has improved tremendously since the implementation of the policy. The other indicators have yet to gain meaningful ground. Table 2. Education policy matrix Narrative summary Indicators of achievement Risks/assumptions Policy goal Increased skills for poverty reduction, employment and economic growth Improved economic indicators Improved social indicators Increased formal/informal sector activities GRZ is able to maintain economic growth of 45% a year GRZ is able to implement economic and institutional reforms Policy purpose Equitable access to relevant quality education and training that incorporates HIV/AIDS 100% basic school net enrolment by 2012 60% high school net enrolment by 2015 Current GRZ budgetary allocations are maintained and increased
13 interventions Learning achievements by grades 1-9 improved by 70% by 2015 Learning achievements for grades 10-12 improved by 75% by 2015 CPs maintain sufficient

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