The Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin is travelling to Zambia today as part of a mission to examine practical ways to support teacher training initiatives in the country.
The Irish Government, through Ireland Aid, has supported development programmes in Zambia, with the education sector receiving â‚¬8.4 million this year to develop initiatives.
Before departing for Lusaka, Minister Mary Hanafin said she wanted to see the work carried out by Irish people in education projects at first hand.
“With increasing numbers of children attending formal schooling in Zambia, the challenge now is for more fully qualified teachers to be available. Tackling issues such as improving literacy can only be done when more trained teachers are available to schools,” she said.
“I am delighted that the Irish teacher training colleges are represented on this mission and that they are willing to lend their support to initiatives which will focus on improving the quality of teaching and teacher education, in Zambia,” she added.
During her visit to Zambia, Ms Hanafin will meet the Zambian education minister and senior education officials.
She will go to a number of outlying regions to meet people involved in education there and visit a number of schools and projects that are supported by Ireland Aid, including projects that have a focus on HIV/Aids and links with education.
The Ireland Aid programme in Zambia began in 1982; this year an overall budget of â‚¬22 million has been allocated for projects in education, health, HIV/Aids, water and sanitation, and to promote more effective and inclusive local governance.