By: Anthony Bwalya
Typical of many others from his generation, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema came from a peasant, village background.
He used to walk barefoot several kilometers to go to school.
Education is the only real opportunity Mr. Hakainde Hichilema ever got.
Education is the only opportunity I ever got. It is the only thing my parents and my government could give me. It is because of the education we got that now Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, and indeed myself, are here fighting for the same opportunity to be given to thousands of talented young men and women in Zambia.
1. MEAL ALLOWANCES
The UPND has always maintained that this is a crucial lifeline for thousands of students and their families. The PF decided to brutally withdraw this support from students when families have continued to lose incomes due to job losses, loadshedding and COVID19 and a failing economy.
I was Secretary General of COBUSU when we negotiated the last payrise for students’ meal allowances to K675, or around K22 per day.
With this small but crucial support taken away from students’, families are under stress and struggling to support their children get through higher education.
The UPND will restore students’ meal allowances and engage in immediate discussions to:
a) Adjust it upwards
b) Expand this support to students in other institutions of higher learning
2. ACCOMMODATION ALLOWANCES
Again, I was Secretary General of COBUSU when we negotiated for the introduction of accommodation refunds for students to mitigate against the cost of student accommodation in private quarters.
a) To test this payment against market rates and progressively adjust upwards to ensure that support to students is meaningful.
b) PPPs between NAPSA and the private sector to build more and affordable accommodation quarters for students across the country.
3. EDUCATION INFRASTRUCTURE
Education infrastructure must go beyond just erecting new buildings and changing the names of existing colleges to universities.
a) Build regional and global education collaborations for accelerated investments in science and technology, as well as knowledge sharing.
b) Double investments in actual learning infrastructure across all institutions
4. INDUSTRIAL LINKAGES AND NETWORKING FOR STUDENTS
To improve the quality of our graduates, we need to open up more and better industrial networking space for our graduates.
a) Rebuild the economy and offer companies better graduate industrial training incentives so that they are able to take on more graduates for practical learning purposes
Note: You cannot deliver industrial learning for students in a failing economy. No company will have the capacity to deliver that.
b) Obligate public infrastructure contracts to comprise an active student learning component so that students are able to learn and acquire actual skills on the job.
c) Establish a student learning budget line within the civil service so that students can spend time working within the civil service, both at home and abroad while on recess as part of their continuous learning process.
5. LOAN RECOVERIES
The UPND has consistently maintained, that the move to institute recoveries on students’ loans at 25% of the basic graduate salary is counterproductive.
a) Stop recoveries on students’ loans and focus on expanding job and earning opportunities for graduates
b) Engage in a discussion around progressive methods of ensuring public scholarship beneficiaries contribute towards the expansion of scholarship support to new and future streams of students but without placing punitive demands on new graduates.
The UPND and Mr. Hakainde Hichilema are here to provide leadership that works for ordinary people.
In 2021, vote for real change.
Share this post