The United Liberal Party (ULP) says the high illiteracy levels in Zambia which will soon become un-manageable if not addressed quickly.
ULP leader Sakwiba Sikota says the failure by government to tackle deep and persistent inequality in education is consigning millions of adults and children to live in poverty and limited opportunity.
He said the Zambian education system in place today still uses the same formula put in place by the colonial government with very minimal reform towards dealing with adult illiteracy.
“According to the Zambia Demographic Health Survey, 1.3 million adults are considered to be illiterate in Zambia, translating into 33.8 percent of the adult population.
Such high figures of illiteracy among adults have a high possibility of negatively affecting any efforts that are meant to develop the nation and reduce the number of people living in abject poverty.
“An Illiterate population will slow down the development process in the country.
“We are calling on the government and civil society organizations to forge links and strategies in order to address the problem of illiteracy among adults. The government should also abandon the excuse of not having enough resources but should intensify efforts of finding resources to be allocated to the education sector.
The ULP is also calling on the government to allocate more funding to education in the 2011 budget much more than was allocated in the Firth National Development Plan 2006 to 2010, were the government had allocated 2.97 billion kwacha for education in 2010 relative to total budget.
“While we appreciate the impact the 2.97 billion has made on the education sector, the amount has not helped much in reducing the high illiteracy levels in the country. There is a need for government to allocate more resources towards reducing the high illiteracy levels in the country.
There is also a clear demonstrable connection between education and development, if we compare the economic standing between Korea and Zambia 45 years ago and today, the difference has been caused by how much each country invested in education.
” It is worth to note that in 1955 South Korea and Zambia were roughly at the same economic level.
The fact that Korea is one of the world’s most economically advanced nations today and Zambia one of the most backward is due almost entirely to a half century of sustained investments in education by the South Korean Government. To effectively reduce the high illiteracy levels in the country government should double the allocation of funding to the education sector.”