Full History of Guidance and Counseling In Zambia (1964 to date)

Many countries across Africa had guidance and counseling developed in the same pattern. Usually initiated by the activities of the colonial masters, then strengthened by the government after independence.

And the history of guidance and counseling in Zambia isn’t left out.

In this post, we will cover a brief history, major milestones, and key players that led to the development of guidance and counseling in Zambia.

Related: History of Guidance and Counseling in Kenya (1963 to date)

Disclaimer: All information here is gathered from across the web for educational and entertainment purposes only. Kindly confirm their accuracy before using them for sensitive projects. 

Brief History of Guidance and Counseling in Zambia

Modern guidance and counseling in Zambia have a long history that can be traced back to the colonial era. During this period, the colonial government introduced guidance and counseling services in schools to promote academic and vocational guidance to African students.

The main focus of these services was vocational guidance for students to work in the mines and other industrial sectors.

But before the age of colonialism, counseling in Zambia existed in various forms and with various interpretations. People in all traditional societies in Zambia have gone through periods of mental or psychological suffering as well as behavioral issues.

Also, it was necessary to mentor young people toward careers in traditional cultures that served the expected demands and objectives of the community.

Related: What Is Guidance and Counseling? (Overview, Scope, and Types)

Each culture then developed well-established practices for assisting people with their issues and jobs.

According to Snelson’s scholarly study from 1978, young people were typically given advice and counseling throughout social and moral orientation, apprenticeship training, and initiation rites. This is called traditional guidance and counseling.

After that phase, Christian missionaries offered assistance and counseling to Zambian students and native teachers in missionary schools throughout the colonial era, when missionary education predominated.

The Zambian educational system, however, was altered by several reforms that the new administration started after the country gained independence in 1964.

After Zambia gained independence in 1964, the government started to slowly recognize the importance of guidance and counseling services in promoting the social and economic development of the country. 

As a result, the first Guidance and Counseling Unit was established under the Ministry of Education. The unit was responsible for providing guidance and counseling services to students in primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions.

Patients receiving psychiatric, psychological, and mental health services, particularly those with mental disorders, were explicitly offered counseling by the Ministry of Health. 

Unfortunately, guidance and counseling were not taken seriously in the Zambian educational system until the ‘Focus on Learning’ educational policy of 1992.

The Ministry of Education formally established guidance and counseling services in 1992 mainly to enhance student academic performance and reduce juvenile delinquency in schools.

The National Guidance and Counselling Association of Zambia (NAGCAZ) was established in 2003 after the Ministry of Education wrote a circular in 2002 to help revitalize guidance and counseling in schools. 

The goal of NAGCAZ was to raise the level of professionalism among teachers of guidance and counseling in the nation.

Related: Overview, History, and Objectives of CASSON (Counselling Association of Nigeria)

The association provided training for guidance and counseling professionals and facilitated the sharing of knowledge and experiences among professionals in the field.

Guidance and counseling have become a profession in Zambia since the NAGCAZ was founded, and vocational programs have been implemented in higher institutions to train professional counselors.

The trained counselors are stationed in community centers, hospitals, and educational facilities.

Challenges in the Historical Development of Guidance and Counseling in Zambia

Despite the progress made in the development of guidance and counseling services in Zambia, several challenges hindered and still hinders the growth of the field.

One of the main challenges was the shortage of qualified guidance and counseling professionals. This shortage is due to the limited number of training institutions and the high demand for counseling services in various sectors.

For instance, the University of Zambia’s counseling center is manned by only 6 professional counselors as stated on their website. This is significantly too low compared to even African nations like Nigeria.

Another challenge is the lack of funding for guidance and counseling services. The government’s budget for guidance and counseling services is often inadequate, leading to a lack of resources and equipment necessary for effective counseling services.

Moreover, cultural and societal factors also play a role in hindering the development of guidance and counseling services in Zambia.

Related: 15 Challenges of Guidance and Counseling in Schools and Solutions 

In some communities, counseling is still stigmatized, and individuals who seek counseling services are often seen as weak or vulnerable.

This perception creates a barrier to the development and adoption of counseling services, particularly in rural areas.

Despite these challenges, the government has continued to invest in the development of guidance and counseling services in the country.

In recent years, the government has collaborated with non-governmental organizations to provide counseling services to vulnerable groups such as street children, orphans, and victims of gender-based violence.


Guidance and counseling services have played a vital role in promoting the social and economic development of Zambia. 

Despite the challenges encountered, significant progress has been made in the development of guidance and counseling services in the country.

The establishment of the Focus on Learning Policy, and the National Guidance and Counselling Association of Zambia, are some of the key milestones in the development of guidance and counseling services in the country

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *