PLIGHT OF STUDENTS/THE YOUNG PEOPLE, INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING AND ZAMBIA’S FUTURE
The manner in which the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is handling the education sector at tertiary level leaves a lot to be desired. It is now very clear that the PF has no strategy on how to ensure that the institutions of higher learning run effective and efficiently. This lack of strategy and foresight on the effectiveness and efficiency of the institutions of higher learning compromises the quality of graduates offloaded from these institutions which in turn affects directly their performance and lives of citizens generally.
As OYV, we are appalled at some insinuations by some senior PF Members claiming that the educated are the people that have destroyed Zambia’s economy. Maybe this explains why the PF has convincingly shown the world that education seems not to be among its priorities.
The happenings at the University of Zambia (UNZA) where lecturers and other staff are on go slow and those at the Copperbelt University where the students have given the PF Government a 48 hours ultimatum to pay the over 3000 students meal and project allowances is indicative of some lack of strategy on the part of Government especially that this is not occurring for the first time in this regime. This is testimony of government’s misdirected priorities especially that government is in the process of borrowing to buy motors vehicles. Students who are mainly young people deserve better and not subjecting them to situations of not paying them, pulling them to limits and wait until the threaten to demonstrate or indeed demonstrate before they are paid. The backlog of arrears at UNZA need government’s intervention in that all outstanding arrears must be cleared before engaging whoever governments thinks would be entrepreneurial enough to have UNZA begin to generate its own resources. Whichever team may be brought in to manage UNZA would not perform as long as the arrears/government debt burden on the institution is not settled.
We are of the considered view that the manner in which the PF Government is handling education at higher learning not only compromises the product in terms of graduates but also has an adverse impact on the quality of future leaders, technocrats, thereby putting Zambia’s future at a stake.
If the future of this country is to be secured, education and indeed education at all levels including higher learning must be at the heart of government. It MUST BE PRIORITIZED. There must be serious investment in education as opposed to the luxury of borrowing for consumption such as purchase of motor vehicle.
Guess Nyirenda (Mr.)