This article was written by Promoting Equity in African Schools (PEAS) and was originally published on the PEAS website on 3 August 2023.

On Thursday 3rd August 2023, PEAS Mushili Hillside Secondary School in Ndola district of the Copperbelt Province in Zambia, was officially opened by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the Hon. Minister of Education, Douglas Munsaka Syakalima. This momentous occasion brought joy and excitement to the local community and students who celebrated with dances, songs and prayer, as well as interactions with the guests of honour.

PEAS Mushili Hillside Secondary School marks PEAS’ sixth secondary school in Zambia. Since opening at the start of the year, the school rapidly reached full capacity, meeting the need for a secondary school provision in the community. Now, it caters for 345 students from low socio-economic backgrounds, 60% of which are girls.

As well as expanding access, PEAS ensures that the education it provides is high-quality and prepares students with the skills they need to succeed after school. PEAS Mushili Hillside Secondary School achieves this through continuous professional development for teachers and leaders, ensuring they are well supported to deliver an effective, learner-centred education. The school prioritises student safety and well-being and offers a diverse range of extra-curricular activities, empowering students to develop relevant skills that set them up for life after school, including life skills, livelihood and entrepreneurial skills and ICT skills.

We know that girls face additional barriers, and all PEAS schools are designed to support girls to access and thrive in secondary school. We do this by providing a high-quality, safe learning environment, but go beyond this to tackle the specific barriers that girls face in secondary education. This includes our inclusive admissions policies, Girls’ Clubs, female mentors, strong child protection and gender-responsive pedagogy.

The UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, spoke at the launch and recognised the significant positive impact that PEAS Mushili Hillside will continue to have on the local community. He stressed that partnerships with supportive not-for-profit organisations like PEAS will be crucial in enabling the government to expand access to quality secondary education across Zambia and achieve its vision of an inclusive secondary education for all Zambians. He highlighted that PEAS schools target the most marginalised students in rural communities, and place a strong emphasis on the importance of girls’ education. He also discussed the wider benefits that such partnerships could bring to the education sector in Zambia.

Beatrice Likando, Country Director of PEAS Zambia, expressed her gratitude for the local partnerships that helped establish PEAS Mushili Hillside Secondary School by saying:

“Today, we stand on the threshold of an exciting example of what partner collaboration can achieve in expanding access to quality education. PEAS Mushili Hillside Secondary School is the product of great collective effort, and I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our partners who have worked with us in this endeavour.”

PEAS is grateful to the Copperbelt Development Foundation Limited (CDFL) for funding and constructing half of PEAS Mushili Hillside Secondary School, and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for supporting PEAS to strengthen our approach and expand our reach beyond our own secondary school network. PEAS also appreciates the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) commitment to improving education in Zambia with the introduction of the Free Education Policy. Beatrice Likando said of the MoE, that their “actions to remove fees demonstrates their belief, which is shared by PEAS, that secondary education should be universal. That we must have a secondary education system that is accessible for all.”

PEAS’ dedication to this belief is evident through over a decade of work in Zambia. Since 2012, PEAS has grown a network of six secondary schools in Zambia, with its first two schools opening in Ndola. Over the years, PEAS has worked with the MoE to establish four additional secondary schools across the Copperbelt, Northern, and Muchinga Provinces. Together, these schools provide inclusive, quality secondary education to over 3,000 students each year.

Beyond expanding access to high quality education by constructing and running secondary schools, PEAS also shares its tested approaches with other schools to support the wider sector. In Zambia, PEAS has partnered with the MoE to design and deliver a school improvement programme, the Targeted Improvement for Equitable Education in Zambia (TIEEZ) programme, in 45 government schools in Northern Province. The TIEEZ programme aims to empower school leaders to drive improvements in their school and deliver high quality, inclusive and cost-effective education to all learners.

If you’d like to find out more about PEAS approach to expanding access to quality secondary education and our plans for the future, please contact