Zambia: Critical Thinking Education

The first of a series of four seminars on critical thinking

The first of a series of four seminars on critical thinking

The first of a series of four seminars on critical thinking for the Zambian Ministry of Education was organized in August 2011, with support from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and the Education Support Program. The seminar included workshops in which, after first-hand experiences of what thinking critically means, and after being introduced to the constructivist framework for organizing teaching and learning, as well as a number of concepts and teaching strategies for critical thinking and active learning, the participants – teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers and assessment officers – prepared to transfer their new learning to their particular field of work.

Why is the Critical Thinking program necessary in Zambia?

In Zambia, education has for a long time been characterized by rote learning where the teacher is an active disseminator of knowledge and skills to the learners, who are mostly perceived as passive receivers of education. This is also attributed to the nature of the curriculum and the written materials that are used in colleges and schools. By signing up for the Critical Thinking program, the Ministry of Education is determined to achieve the following:

  • promote the development of an analytical, innovative, creative and constructive mind. If students learn to think critically, then they can use good thinking as the guide by which they live their lives.
  • develop skills, abilities and values in learners that are crucial to success in everyday life.
  • re-orient teachers and lecturers on new and innovative pedagogies and methodologies that support analytical, independent and reflective thinking, thus, enabling learners to begin questioning some of the assumptions they are exposed to.
  • re-orient curriculum developers and assessment officers to new and innovative curriculum development and assessment styles that call for independent and reflective thinking and application with greater focus on the need for higher order thinking skills.

Zambia is currently undergoing a reform of the curriculum at all levels in order to make it more comprehensive, well integrated and sufficiently focused to meet the current challenges of the nation. Therefore, the Critical Thinking program could not have come at a better time than this. Most of the changes in the curriculum demand methodologies that promote critical thinking, i.e. independent thinking, questioning assumptions, and maximum active engagement in learning.


For more information on the Zambian Critical Thinking program, contact Mr Kenneth Mwangana at An article by Kenneth Mwamgana, MoE Zambia and Laura Runceanu, RWCT trainer.


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