What is the state of Zambia's education quality and finances?


Large-scale surveying
Quantitative analysis
Strategic recommendations
Data visualization


The World Bank Group
UK Department for International Development
Government of Zambia


Research Analyst


Seo Yeon Hong
Shinsaku Nomura
Hiroshi Saeki

Abba Babba

Commissioned by the UK Department for International Development and in partnership with the Government of Zambia, our team from the World Bank undertook two reviews of Zambian national education in 2014:

  • A Public Expenditure Review (PER) to analyze the flow of public funds from the central government to schools, and
  • The Public Expenditure Tracking Survey-Quantitative Service Delivery Survey (PETS-QSDS) to assess the quality of education and its contributing factors.

Large-Scale Surveying & Quantitative Analysis

The PETS-QSDS survey was administered to 272 primary and 174 secondary schools as part of a nationally representative sample. Based on previous PETS-QSDS surveys, we constructed comprehensive surveys for multiple stakeholders—from government officials to Grade 5 students—that inquired about various factors, including budgeting, decision-making, resources, attendance, infrastructure, and behavior.

  • Measuring soft skills: The data collection included a new component to the PETS-QSDS: self-administered surveys that evaluated the motivations and personalities of principals, teachers, and students. A subset of the school sample also received random classroom observations to track detailed information on the in-class activities and environment. We compared all of this data on education inputs to students' education outcomes in their national assessment exams.
  • Piloting and implementing surveys: The PER included surveys and financial reviews of school and government officials, at several levels, which, along with the PETS-QSDS, was conducted by a Zambian survey firm. Our team piloted each survey module at both rural and urban schools, improved them based on these lessons, and then trained teams of enumerators in their administration. After several months of data collection by the local firm, we then used quantitative statistical software to analyze the data and draw out findings.

Strategic Recommendations

In partnership with the Government of Zambia, DFID, and advisory experts, we developed several policy recommendations to address issues in the quality and financial efficiency of Zambian education. Our data, findings, and recommendations are compiled in extensive reports which are currently undergoing wider dissemination throughout Zambia and have become spurred new interventions.

Read the full PER and PETS-QSDS reports, or view the "At a glance" summary of both reports.