Lumwana West Basic School

Lumwana West Basic School

Lumwana West Basic School has offered education in grades 1–9 to the children from the village and surrounding area. A June 2007 survey from World Vision Zambia listed 650 students total at the basic school. With EBZEF support, 301 students were female, while 349 were male. In addition, the number of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) at Lumwana West was 55 or 8 % of the student population.

The ratio of teachers to students is 1:150. The school has double streams for each grade, with two sessions each day (morning and afternoon). The education level for most people in the area is up to grade 9. However, many adults remain illiterate and cannot read, write, or speak in the national language, English (the native language is Lunda). Those few who can afford to pay boarding costs go to Mwinilunga Secondary School, Solwezi Secondary School, or Mukenge Girls’ School for grades 10–12.

EBZEF has supported Beth’s Girls in grades 8 and 9, including tuition, books and supplies, personal hygiene and uniforms, plus tutoring and exam fees for grade 9. So far, any girl who is willing to work hard for an education could become a Beth’s Girl. They promised to be good role models for younger girls and to find a way to give back to the village. The number of girls attending grades 8 and 9 rose from 4 in 2002, to 75 in 2008, to 70 in 2010, and 53 in 2012. Several of the girls dropped out to have babies, then returned to continue their education.

Beth's Girls

Beth's Girls at Lumwana West Basic School

In 2012 the Zambian government decided to change the education system nationally to Grades 1-7 for Basic School and 8-12 for Secondary School. This means that 8th and 9th graders will now have to go to boarding school as well as 10th-12th grade students. In addition, it is difficult for rural schools to maintain a consistent teaching staff as salaries often are not paid, housing is not supplied by the government, and transportation and communication are not available. In 2007, Lumwana West had five trained teachers with only two on contract plus one untrained teacher. The unaccommodated teachers stayed in houses built for the health center.

The entire village wants Lumwana West Basic School to become a secondary school so more children can complete their high school education in the village. To do so, they must have a library, a science lab, more classrooms (they already have classrooms for grades 8 and 9), and more teachers’ houses. EBZEF has given the Memorial Library/Learning Center to the village as a gift of literacy. Engineers Without Borders is currently working to help the village build a science lab.

Pre-School

Lumwana West Basic School is also incorporating a pre-school program initiated by EBZEF in 2010 with the help of Beth’s Girl Teachers College graduate Dianah Masumbah and a grant from the Columbia River Peace Corps Association.  Beth’s Girls Jean Mutepeka and Belinda Kalumba have kept the classes going until the Ministry of Education sent Early Childhood Development teacher Beatrice Kabandi in late 2013.  Currently EBZEF, in partnership with Baal Dan Charity, is helping build a two-room pre-school building to house the Early Childhood Development Program.