Lecturer and human rights activist, Saboi Imboela, says education in Zambia under the Patriotic Front government has lost credibility and is no longer appealing in the region.
Ms. Imboela, who is also a PhD candidate at the University of Zambia says constant riots, strikes, and stand-offs caused by government’s failure to fulfill it’s obligations to public universities has made education in the country a laughing stock.
“You see, from the time these guys took over government education standards have been going down, we don’t know what will become of our education system if these people continue governing beyond August 11th.” She lamented.
“Yes lecturers get prepared to lecture these students and we can boast as lecturers that Zambia has some of the most sought for lecturers in Southern African, but alas, what is there to lecture if the students are running amok every two days, tear-gassed and incarcerated every weekend and suspended every month? What time then is there to teach? Most lecturers now find it better to lecture at private universities where facilities are better and the the terms or semesters are more secure and guaranteed.’
Ms. Imboela stated that foreign students were no longer attracted to Zambia because education in Zambia’s public schools had become synonymous to militia training as students spent most of their time fighting with the police.
“…we used to have a lot of foreign students coming to Zambia because of the credibility and reputation our education system used to have. Where are those students now? The only place you will probably find them today in Zambia are private universities because they are not embroiled in this farce. Go to all the universities in South Africa today, you will find not less than one Zambian lecturer… Why? Our education used to be very reputable and our students were among the best in the region. Today a Zambian graduate will be the last option to employ, in fact I doubt if any university would want to employ a Zambian graduate because of this!”
Zambia has seen numerous stand-offs, riots and protests by both lecturers and students because of the PF government’s failure to pay lecturers their salaries and students their meager allowances. These riots have been more pronounced in the past 5 years of PF rule but have become more rife to unacceptable and unprecedented levels in the past one year since President Lungu took over office.
This has resulted in many scholars and stakeholders recommending the shoveling off of the PF to the ‘dust bin’ in this year’s general election.