World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2010-11-12

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

Main policy frameworks guiding TVET in Zambia are:

  • TEVET Policy, 1996
  • Vision 2030
  • 5th National Development Plan, 2011-2015
The TEVET Policy (1996) is the main framework for technical educational, vocational and entrepreneurship training (TEVET) in Zambia. It recognises the need for gearing TVET towards a changing economy which, compared with the preceding years, is increasingly based on the informal sector. Therefore, the Policy strives to establish a TVET system capable of the following:

  • Balancing the supply of skilled labour at all levels with the demands of the economy;
  • Acting as a vehicle for improved productivity and income generation; and
  • Being an instrument for the minimisation of inequalities among people.
The Policy (1996) further defines its objectives according to the economic and social context.

Economic objectives

  • To improve the productivity of the labour force in both the formal and informal sectors;
  • To promote entrepreneurship and economic participation in both the formal and informal sectors with the aim of increasing the efficiency of the national economy;
  • To develop a Zambian society with people that will be versatile, creative, employable, entrepreneurial and productive;
  • To provide qualitative training for imparting appropriate vocational skills relevant to the socio-economic development needs of Zambia;
  • To promote a rational use of local resources in training and post-training activities of entrepreneurs; and
  • To promote the economic empowerment of the women in our society
Social objectives

  • To instil a culture of preventive maintenance and stimulate the development of quality assurance;
  • To provide access to training opportunities to all the people in the community;
  • To inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship and promote self-reliance in the Zambian society;
  • To ensure greater participation of the women in the development process; and
  • To provide skills and opportunities that will respond to Zambia’s needs such as poverty alleviation, improved housing and improved health care.
Given the limited resources, the Policy (1996) underlines the need to focus on certain groups in society which have the greatest potential of contributing to productivity, economic growth and development. The groups include school leavers; employees in the formal sector; entrepreneurs, both in the formal and informal sector; the unemployed and underemployed; and women.

The Vision 2030 (2006) recognises TVET as an integral part of the education and skills development sector and its contribution to economic development. The vision for the Education and Skills Development Sector includes (vii.) the aim of increasing skill training output by 2% per annum and increasing equity of access while maintaining internationally recognised and locally validated standards of quality.

(Source: Vision 2030, 2006)

As outlined in the 5th National Development Plan, the rapid economic decline since the 1970s and the rapidly growing labour force puts a strain on the TEVET (Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training) system. The main challenges resulting from a weak economy are the incapability to absorb a large number of school drop-outs as well as graduates from TEVET colleges. Additionally, the TEVET system lacks a viable financing system and offers little labour market-relevant training.

With regard to TEVET, the main objective of the 6th National Development Plan is “to increase efficiency and equitable access to quality basic skills and TEVET”. The Plan sets out the following strategy for achieving the aforementioned objective:

  • Provide alternative modes of basic skills and TEVET delivery including ICT;
  • Promote the participation of non-public training providers in the delivery of TEVET;
  • Promote participation of women especially in technical programmes;
  • Promote participation of the Learning, Skills and Employment Network (LSEN) in vocational skills training;
  • Integrate Entrepreneurship and Medium and Small Micro Enterprise Development (MSME) into basic skills and TEVET; and
  • Promote collaboration with private sector as a way of improving the link between training and labour market requirements.
TVET legislation

The Education Act (1966) is the main legal document guiding education in Zambia.

The Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (Amendment) Act No. 11 (2005) stipulates the establishment of the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) and defines its role and functions. The Act provides for the establishment of Government-run TVET institutions and outlines their management structure, as well as a regulatory framework for all TVET providers.

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2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Zambia. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Formal TVET system

Even though primary education is not compulsory, students are expected to start school at the age of seven. The primary level lasts for seven years and is divided into two stages – lower (grade 1-4) and middle basic (grade 5-7). Similarly, secondary education is divided into two levels – upper basic (grade 8-9) and high school (10-12). At the end of high school, students take the School Certificate Examination which grants access to higher education. At secondary level, the following TVET qualifications can be obtained.

  • Certificate (Trade);
  • Certificate (Craft);
  • Advanced Certificate (Technician); and
  • Diploma (Technologist).
Higher education is offered at universities and specialised institutes or colleges which offer two-year certificates and three-year diploma programmes.

Public TVET is managed by a number of different Ministries. The former Ministry of Education operated schools of continuing education which offered skill training and academic courses. This ministry has since merged with the former Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training to form the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is in charge of running rural training centres that offer short-courses in skills development. The Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development runs Skill Training Centres that offer informal skill training.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

Non formal TVET is community-based and is provided by church-run organisations and NGOs. They run training courses for school-drop outs and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Furthermore, non formal training is offered by private TVET providers and focuses on business and commercial courses, preparatory courses for international qualifications and short-courses on specific skills. Private TVET providers are demand-driven and mainly located in urban areas. All TVET institutions need to be registered with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA).

Informal TVET

According to the TVET Policy (1996), the majority of TVET training (70%) is carried out in an informal way. Since the 1970s, the deteriorating economic situation limited the ability of the labour market to absorb TVET graduates and school drop-outs which contributed to the growth of informal training and employment.

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3. Governance and financing


The Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training and Early Education is the main government body responsible for all levels of education in Zambia. The Ministry consists of five directorates – planning and information; standards and curriculum development; human resources and administration; teacher education and specialised education; and distance learning.

The Department of Vocational Education and Training at the Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training and Early Education is in charge of formulating and providing policy guidelines to training institutions; promoting TVET; increasing stakeholder participation in the provision of TVET; and quality assessment of TVET programmes.

Established in 2005, the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) is the main body overseeing TVET implementation in the country. TEVETA accredits and registers TVET institutions; offers support to TVET providers; develops curricula and conducts examinations. Through its Training Systems Development Unit, TEVETA oversees four different TVET delivery models in Zambia.

  • Institution-based training;
  • Workplace-based training;
  • TVET Learnership scheme (dual-training system conducted partly at a TVET institution and party in the workplace); and
  • Open and distance training.

The TVET system in Zambia is financed through a variety of sources.

  • Government provides funding to public TVET institutions through the relevant Ministries. Funds are used to subsidise training fees and for operational costs of TVET institutions.
  • Charities and donors ensure funding for community-based and faith-based TVET providers. Those organisations subsidise TVET training for socio-economically disadvantaged learners.
  • Training fees are a significant source of funding for both public and private TVET providers. However, fees charged by private institutions are not regulated while public TVET institutions need to seek approval for training fees from the corresponding ministries.
  • Industry provides funding for enterprise-based training allowing students to train directly at the workplace.
  • Established under the TVET (Amendment) Act. No. 11 of 2005, the TEVET Fund serves a source of funding for public and private providers. The Government provides funds for the Fund which are consequently awarded to pre-determined training programmes at public training institutions.

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4. TVET teachers and trainers

As set out in the TEVET (Amendment) Act. No. 11 of 2005, the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training authority (TEVETA) is in charge of accrediting TVET trainers, assessors, moderators and examiners. The accreditation system is based on a set of minimum technical and teaching qualifications outlined by TEVETA. TVET instructors qualify in teaching at different TVET levels as specified in the TEVET Qualifications Framework.

The Technical and Vocational Teachers’ College is the only institution providing pedagogical TVET teacher training. It offers full-time, part-time, short-time and distance courses with full time programmes being offered in the following areas.

  • Technical Teacher’s Diploma;
  • Commercial Secondary Teacher’s Diploma;
  • Advanced Teacher’s Diploma (Commercial & Design and Technology);
  • Design and Technology Teacher’s Diploma;
  • Guidance, Counselling and Placement Diploma; and
  • Special Vocation Teachers Diploma.
Technical teacher training is offered at technical training institutions and universities.

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

Scheme extracted from Nkanza, P. K. (2010). National Report on the Literature Review on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) – Zambia. Paris: UNESCO.

The objectives of the Zambia Qualifications Framework (ZQF) are to create a single, integrated qualifications framework; enhance the quality of training; promote education and training opportunities; and facilitate access to, as well as mobility and progression within the education system. Currently (2012) the ZQF is under development. The establishment of the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZQA) and the Higher Education Authority are envisaged for 2012. Subsequently, impact assessment studies will be carried out in 2013.

As illustrated in the graphic above, responsibilities for different levels in the ZQF are shared between three Government agencies. TEVETA is in charge of managing the TEVET Qualification Framework (TQF) which comprises three levels. TQF aims to accurately recognise knowledge and competences and to unify different types and levels of qualifications obtained abroad.

TEVETA specifies the following aims for the TEVET Qualifications Framework:

  • Create an integrated national framework for learning achievements in TEVET;
  • Facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, the TEVET system and career paths;
  • Enhance the quality of education and training in TEVET; and
  • Contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the nation at large.
Quality assurance

The Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVETA) grades registered training institutions on the basis of their ability to satisfy the minimum training standards. It inspects TVET institutions and awards grades one, two or three.

Grade descriptions:

  • Grade One - Very Good: The institution is very good institutions in terms of management, staff, facilities and shows very few weaknesses.
  • Grade Two - Good: The institution offers good basic quality training but shows some problems in management, trainers qualifications or facilities. It shows more strengths than weaknesses but there are areas in need of improvement.
  • Grade Three - Satisfactory: The institution shows a mixture of strengths and weaknesses in the above-mentioned quality elements. It barely meets the minimum training standards.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

Currently (2012) the Zambia Qualifications Framework (ZQF) is under development.

(For more information see Section 5.)

The TVET sector in Zambia enjoys International co-operation with a number of nations in the UNESCO-UNEVOC network. More specifically the TVET sector in Zambia has and is co-operating with the following nations:

  • Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA);
  • Commonwealth of Learning (COL);
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO);
  • International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA);
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC); and

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+2.84 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
5.73 5.73
female male  
6.53 6.56
female male  

49.97 %

49.89 %

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

GDP per capita (currency: US$)










1 183

1 106

1 253

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank Database

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Further reading


  • TVET - Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • TEVET - Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training
  • TEVETA - Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority
  • TQF - TEVET Qualification Framework
  • ZQA - Zambia Qualifications Authority
  • ZQF - Zambia Qualifications Framework

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2010-11-12
Validated by: Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (MSTVT)

page date 2017-05-05

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