One of our major tasks during our visit to Zambia in the summer was to select our A level scholars to start Hillcrest School in January 2017. We work with our scholars to help them to apply to universities.
Our selection involved us interviewing and testing 26 students in five locations within Zambia. Students are recommended to us by Zambia based charities and schools. We select our scholars based on the following criteria:
- Academic ability in maths, sciences and English (as these are the subjects the students have to take at A level)
- Financial disadvantage – students have to come from backgrounds where it would otherwise be impossible to have the opportunity to apply to universities abroad
- Community involvement for instance through volunteering
- Commitment to their country in the longer term
- Desire to take A levels and to apply to university.
When we select our scholars, we also give equal consideration to boys and girls. We aim to select equal numbers of each. This is because not only is it culturally less likely that a girl stays in education to the end of secondary school, but also they are taught to be more subservient and they generally have a lot of work to do in the home. This can mean that they don’t have time to get involved in some of the more adventurous projects that the boys take part in.
You can imagine that students find the selection process quite nerve-wracking, so we try to put them at their ease and find a time during the day where we can sit and chat in a more relaxed setting, even over pizza at lunch time in one instance.
Our two scholars this year are Quincy Namonje (female) and Prince Ngoma (male). Surprisingly, they both come from Kitwe and were put forward by the same organisation, Copperbelt Heath Education Project (CHEP).
We have also waitlisted two students, one from Lusaka and the other from Ndola, in the hope that we will have more funding by the end of the year.
We would like to thank all the students and the organisations they represented for the effort that they put in. It was a really tough decision and we hope that next year we will be able to offer more places. We would also like to thank Ghana International Bank and other donors throughout the year for making it possible to offer these scholarships.