RB Calls for More Investment in Education
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has called for more investment in the education sector as well as realigning it to the country's aspirations as enshrined in the Vision 2030.
President Banda said there was need for the country's education curriculum to be in line with the Government's aspirations as stipulated in the Vision 2030.
He said this in a speech read for him by Education Minister Dora Siliya during the National Education Policy review consultative meeting in Lusaka yesterday.
The theme of the meeting, which brought together people from various backgrounds, was 'Re-Engineering Education Towards Vision 2030'.
"We have to transform the country into a middle income nation by 2030 and there is need to invest in education. In addition, the sector has to be able to meet the needs of the nation and be in line with the Vision 2030," Mr Banda said.
The president said the Government had prioritised education on its developmental agenda and this could be seen through the numerous reforms that had been undertaken since 1992.
Mr Banda said the policy, which was currently in place, was last reviewed in 1996 and as such, there was need for further reforms to meet the aspirations of the Government.
He said that as a result of the reforms initiated in 1996, the Government had been able to record numerous successes in the sector.
Owing to the reforms, he said, the private sector had also contributed to the setting up of private universities as well as private primary and secondary schools.
"As Government, we want to provide education to everybody but because of demand, we have now been focusing on basic education and that is free education for nine years," Mr Banda said.
Since the introduction of free basic education, the president said the levels of enrolment had risen from 1.4 million in 2004 to 3.2 million in 2008. Further, he said, there were close to 10,000 adults attending adult literacy classes throughout the country.
Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said the challenge the country was facing to provide free education was the limited resources.
Dr Musokotwane said it was important that those with the means of paying for university education did so on their own to give chance to those without the means.
He said the Government was doing a lot to improve the education standards in the country but asked the private sector, the church and other interest groups to complement the efforts.
Dr Musokotwane said the efforts of the Government could be evidenced by the budgetary allocation towards the sector.
Copperbelt University (CBU) vice-chancellor Mutale Musonda said there was need for the Government to increase funding to higher institutions of learning.
He said apart from the Government increasing funding to higher institutions of learning, there was need for the corporate world to come on board.
University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturer Choolwe Beyani said as much as there should be reforms in the education sector, they should be backed by enacting the necessary legal provision.
Dr Beyani said there was no legislation in the country to support the reforms which he said was a setback to the development of education.
(Times of Zambia)