Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

St Mary’s Minor Seminary [male boarding school for ages 12 – 20 years] with the support of the Diocese of Chipata in Zambia has requested a Science Teacher/Mentor to increase educational opportunity for rural students and to support skill development of the local science teacher.

The Location

The St Mary’s is located on the outskirts of Chipata [approximately 1,100 metres above sea level] in the Eastern Province of Zambia close to the Malawi border [110 km from Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi].  Chipata town is located about 600kms from Lusaka [capital of Zambia].   The population of Chipata district is approximately 85,963.

The Challenge

While Zambia has achieved steady growth in primary-school enrolment and completion, it is suggested that poorly trained teachers, inadequate learning materials, and poor school governance undermine the quality of education.  Students are leaving the education system without acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills.

St Mary’s Minor Seminary has very limited facilities and the science laboratory resources are very basic.

  • According to the Zambian Government Education Brief 2019 more resources are required to fund schools generally.
  • Quality of education remains low: only 45% of Grade 4 pupils have the required competency in literacy and only half have the required competency in numeracy
  • International assessments revealed that Zambian children in public schools only 5% and 2% of 15-year-old students met minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics respectively.
  • Completion rates at Grade 9 and Grade 12 remain at 72% and 32% respectively.
  • Educational attainment is considerably lower among poor and rural Zambians than among their wealthier and urban counterparts.

About You

The Palms participant will need to have:

  • Qualifications and experience in Science teaching
  • Experience in mentoring teachers [desirable]
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
  • Willingness to work in Zambia for a minimum of 12 months, with limited resources and facilities
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • Training and mentoring the Science teacher enabling the position and skills to be localised
  • increasing educational opportunities in Science in rural Zambia where the need is great
  • delivering positive learning outcomes for students


Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.


Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.