Zambia is undergoing rapid socio-economic development and the education sector is no exception. Education is an agent of change. While education has always been perceived as a social sector, it is also an economic tool for development. In 1996, the Ministry of Education developed the National Policy on Education, ‘Educating Our Future’, in order to respond to the developmental needs of the nation as well as those of the individual learners. This policy has since become the basis of all the educational strategies that ensure the provision of quality education through suitable teaching and learning at all levels of the education system. The framework has been developed through a consultative and participatory process. There has been close liaison among the Ministry’s Directorates, Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ), Universities, Colleges of Education, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Civil Societies, Civic and Traditional Leaders as well as other Government departments. This paper outlines how much the Government of Zambia has done in promoting Expressive Arts Education.
Expressive Arts are disciplines that use skills to impart knowledge in learners. Expressive Arts combine visual arts, drama, music, physical education, and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth and community development. Expressive Art aims at developing a learner in all aspects of life. Moreover, Expressive Art believes in an all-round development of the learner. It emphasizes the development of physical, intellectual, social, affective, moral, and spiritual qualities of a learner for his or her professional and personal being through learner activity in which he/she develops competencies in the area.
In Zambia Expressive Arts in schools is divided into Physical Education, Art and Design, and music. For a longtime these were done unanimously, for example, physical Education was done in form of hunting, dancing, and gathering food and so on, music was done during leisure time especially in the evening. Education remained mainly unguided with young boys and girls learning from their fathers and mothers respectively. This was mainly accomplished through observation, imitation, and repetition (Snelson 1974). “Physical education is defined as an educational process that uses physical activity as a means to help individuals acquire skills, fitness, knowledge, and attitudes that contribute to their optimal development and well-being” (Wuest and Bucher 1999, p. 8). The history of physical education (PE) in Zambia follows the pattern of the history of education in Zambia. Thus, the history of PE in Zambia can be divided into the indigenous period, the colonial period and the post-independence period (Mubita, 2017). “PE” was essential and utilitarian in the indigenous period because it was simply part of the lives of the people at that time. People walked, swam, ran, and were involved in many other forms of physical activity. PE was indispensable. However, while many subjects have enjoyed immense popularity in the country’s curriculum, PE has suffered marginalization. Although the subject was taught in schools supported by the mining companies and in private schools with facilities and infrastructure as well as teacher training institutions, it was not examined. To promote expressive Arts education, the Ministry of Education (MoE) under the education Reforms of 1977 made Expressive Art education an integral component of the total school experience for students. The government through these reforms promoted Expressive Arts by encouraging colleges to train or educate students in Expressive Arts. Later, the subject was examined at teacher training colleges and the University of Zambia. From 2005, however, major developments have taken place in the area of PE. President Mwanawasa declared that PE should be taught in all schools (Mubita, 2017). The subject was introduced to the primary school examination as part of Creative and Technology Studies (CTS) and most recently as Expressive Arts (EA). It is now also being examined at junior and senior secondary levels. Moreover, Teacher education institutions have been steadfast in training students in PE.
Additionally, the importance of music in holistic education cannot be overemphasized. In Zambia, just like in many other African countries, the struggle to have musical arts education gain its equitable place in the national school’s curriculum has been hard-fought (Lungu, 2013). Like most of its neighbors, Zambia is a former British colony and as such, many sectors including education are influence by the former colonial regime. After Zambia got her independence on 24 October 1964, she inherited among many other things the colonial curriculum that had been used prior to independence.
Apart from the influence of indigenous Zambian music on music education, the church has also played a major role. Missionaries introduced western three- and four-part harmony in choral church music, along with hymns that became part of school activities, especially in mission schools. Some African teachers and church leaders learnt to read music notation, especially tonic solfa, which spread into both the schools and churches. As missionaries from various Christian denominations established themselves in different parts of the country, so did their music. Luckily, some local music teachers and leaders, through government and cooperating partners over the years, went to study abroad and in other African countries. They later returned to enhance music in schools and churches, as well as work actively as Zambian ethnomusicologists and activists for musical arts education. Among these torch bearers in music education are Dr Mwesa Isaiah Mapoma, the late John Anderson Mwesa, the late Longino Mumpuka, Boscow Mubita, Dr Joseph N’gandu, Dr Kapambwe Lumbwe and Aloysio Mumpuka, among many others. The ground had been set and the future of music education looked bright.
Music education policies are fashioned by the broader national education policies. Most of the music taught in schools was biased toward European curricula and culture. The gap between local community music and ‘school music’ was obviously wide. However, there have been strides towards correcting this status quo by calls to contextualize the music curriculum at all levels. The 1996 national policy on education, titled ‘Educating Our Future’, clearly shows government’s positive attitude and desire for the advancement of the arts in general. The policy document emphasizes how the arts should be cultivated in the young citizenry to inculcate patriotism, appreciate, and propagate Zambia’s diverse cultural heritage.
Until as recently as 2010, all early education (pre-school) institutions in Zambia were privately owned as government was not providing education at this level. In 2013, selected government schools (public schools) rolled out pilot classes in early childhood. Music at this level is taught under the Creative and Expressive Arts learning area umbrella, which is a combination of music, art, drama and physical education. The musical component of the curriculum is aimed at ‘developing the child’s social attitudes, patriotism and culture’. The teacher’s creativity and ability to make the learning area come alive is absolutely necessary at this level.
Music at primary school level, as in the early years, is compulsory and taught under the Expressive Arts (formerly Creative and Technology Studies, or CTS) learning area, which is a combination of music, art, drama and physical education. With the exception of singing, applied music and creative musical literacy are seldom taught in the classroom of government primary schools. This is generally because of a lack of necessary facilities, a largely incoherent music curriculum and generalist music teachers with relatively little musical knowledge or skills. However, there are many proactive teachers in the primary schools who find means – often using personal resources or outsourcing specialists – to teach ensemble playing with recorders, choral music and traditional Zambian song and dance.
Secondary (high school) education in Zambia is divided into two levels: junior secondary (Grades 8 and 9), after which a national examination is written; and senior secondary (Grades 10, 11 and 12), after which the national school certificate examination is written.
At this level, music is an optional subject and the number of students who choose it is relatively low. While primary schools (previously known as basic schools) have a clearly defined music curriculum administered by the Ministry of Education, the high school music syllabus has had inconsistencies over the years. Following government’s decision to change the curriculum to focus on specific ‘career pathways’, schools have had to choose which career pathways they will offer. Very few schools have chosen the arts pathway that includes music.
At secondary level, music classes are intended for those learners who wish to use music in some way in their future careers. The music examination at Grade 12 level is mostly theory of music, but aspects of composition, aural tests, and applied (performance) music are also incorporated.
For over 40 years, Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commercevi has provided music education at diploma level. The college is situated in the heart of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. After the three public Universities in Zambia, Evelyn Hone is the fourth largest public institution in terms of student population and the number of programs offered. The institution offers a three-year Secondary School Music Teacher’s Diploma, primarily to train secondary school music teachers, with English as minor teaching subject. The music teachers’ diploma programme at Evelyn Hone College comprises both music courses and professional education courses, and a second teaching subject, English. Candidates in this programme are recruited based on the general minimum requirements and therefore do not undergo any music auditions or placement exams. The institution also offers a two-year Music Diploma for professional musicians who do not want to be teachers. Private tuition in instruments and theory is also available to those who might not want to enroll in the diploma programme. Performance ensembles of the music section include a concert band, choir, pop band and traditional dance troupe.
Rusangu Universityvii is a private institution with campuses in Monze and Lusaka, run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It is the only institution in the country offering full music programmes at Bachelor’s Degree level. Rusangu offers three different degree programmes: Bachelor of Arts (Music), Bachelor of Arts (Music with Education) and Bachelor of Education in Music (B.Ed Music). The Bachelor of Arts (Music) programme is a four-year course offered full-time to regular university music students who might opt to teach in schools or go into other areas of music. The Bachelor of Education in Music is targeted at serving music teachers from Evelyn Hone and other colleges who wish to upgrade to a Bachelor’s Degree. The university also offers a Secondary School Music Teacher’s Diploma. This programme is a balance of theory and applied music courses that was pioneered by prominent Zambian music educationist, the late John Anderson Mwesa, in 2006 with the help of adjunct lecturers. To date the programme has graduated over 50 music teachers and professionals (including the author, who was the first graduate from the programme) who are currently serving the country in various capacities, including as lecturers, teachers, studio engineers and producers, military bandmasters, composers and officers in the Ministry of Education. The music courses are taught by full-time and adjunct faculty with a minimum of a Master’s Degree in their fields of specialization.
Other music training programmes available for teachers are offered at the following institutions: the University of Zambiaviii, which runs a general Bachelor of Primary Education degree where music is taught as one of the subjects; the National In-Service Teachers College (NISTICOL) in Chalimbanaix; Northern College in Kasama, which offers music as a teaching subject at Diploma level; as well as at all Primary Certificate and Diploma Teacher Training Colleges, which offer music as a small component of the expressive arts learning area.