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Zambia’s Top Education Man

Soon after their move to Zambia in March, Karolyn & Martin were joined by Barry & Becky Gransden for a few days during their Easter break in Zambia. After a lot of lobbying on Karolyn’s part and the influence of the Zambian High Commissioner from London, a meeting was arranged in Lusaka with Dr John Phiri, Minister of Education, Science & Vocational Training. He was extremely generous with his time, emptying his diary for 2 hours to meet with us.

Dr Phiri listened intently as both Martin and Karolyn introduced him to the Vinjeru project. He was particularly keen to know what progress had been made to date and, when informed of all the issues relating to securing the ownership of the land, he contacted the Ministry of Lands to arrange for their help later the same day. Whilst there have been a number of frustrations since then in actually getting the land, Dr Phiri’s personal engagement with the project was encouraging and, we are sure, will continue to be a very significant influence. Indeed, he described the meeting as ‘the start of a very special relationship’.

Left to right: Karolyn Simbeye, Martin Simbeye, Dr John Phiri , Barry Gransden and Becky Gransden

After gaining a good impression of The Vinjeru Trust School (VTS) in relation to what the children and adults of Kapiri Mposhi stand to gain, Dr Phiri then wanted to explore some of the ideas behind the continuing professional development of teachers and headteachers – an area of considerable concern for him in terms of the modest quality currently and how the Vinjeru project will be able to help. He is very concerned about the low standards of attainment amongst school children and is clear that this is closely related to poor quality teaching and leadership. Before his political career took off, Dr Phiri taught in primary, secondary and higher education and so is well-informed of what is needed. Whilst getting the VTS established in Kapiri Mposhi is the main priority, Barry, Becky, with Mike and Sue Griffiths – at least – are well-placed to make a significant contribution to this work and Dr Phiri is keen for us to work directly with the School of Education at University of Zambia (UNZA).

One Response to Zambia’s Top Education Man

  1. Dianna Lara says:

    Dear Karolyn and Martin,

    I encountered a web article about you and the school you are starting in Zambia during my own quest for information on how to start a school in that area. My uncle is a pastor here in the United States and he has been supporting a pastor in Lusaka who runs a school that serves orphans during the day and serves as a Bible training institute for pastors in the evening. My husband and I give to that ministry as often as we can as we are very concerned about the state of affairs among the people of Zambia. That initial ariticle led me to the Vinjery School trust website and I have been having a wonderful time reading the articles you have posted. I am praying that God will soon provide me with the initial resources I will need to start my own school in Zambia, but in the meantime, I will be praying that God blesses you and your family and that He will grant you success in your endeavors. Perhaps one day we will get the chance to meet, as I would greatly appreciate any advice you can offer being further along in the process of starting a school in Zambia than I will be.

    God bless,
    Dianna Lara
    Lewisville, TX, USA

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