To be an internationally recognized Open University providing quality education through distance learning.
A leading higher education provider using creative and innovative learning methodologies aimed at reaching diverse constituencies for promoting social and economic development.
The founders of ZAOU cherish five values summed up in the acronym PHIGS,
PATRIOTISM. It is a commitment of ZAOU and its students to help free Zambia from negative experiences such as poverty, hunger and diseases and make it a better place to live in. This also recognizes the contribution of the founding fathers and mothers to the liberation of the country from colonial bondage
HONESTY. It is based on unconditional trust, free of corrupt tendencies and behaviors.
INDUSTRY or HARDWORK. It is a call to all students and staff to commit themselves to hard work and cherish the perseverance that characterized the hard work that the founders of ZAOU put in to create the university.
GENEROSITY. It is a desire of ZAOU to give back something to the larger society. ZAOU itself is a gift to the larger Zambian society as a treasure of knowledge and wisdom.
SELF-DIRECTIVENESS. It is based on a realization that the onus of learning lies with individual students who must be given guidance in their quest for knowledge and be liberated from any form of intellectual domination in their interaction with one another and their lecturers.