(By Ben Mbangu in Monze)
HIGHER education minister Professor Nkandu Luo says there will be no change in Zambia even if people complain and want to change the President unless the country focuses on education.
Commissioning two hostels at Rusangu University town campus in Monze built at a cost of K10 million, Prof Luo said change can only be actualised when citizens realise that the country was in a fourth industrial revolutionary.
“These complaints you make in the country of even saying that you want to change the President, you will change Presidents until rain come down, there will be no change in this country,” she said. “There will be no change until we focus on education and until we know that as a country we are in the fourth industrial revolution.”
Prof Luo said education has liberated other countries that had similar history with that of Zambia like Singapore, Japan, Korea and Israel.
“Those countries decided to invest in education, technology and today because of technology you see Israel developing despite being a desert,” she said. Luo said her ministry was working on changing the landscape of education in the country.
Prof Luo said the future of the country lies in the hands of students in higher learning institutions hence the government was in the process of transforming the landscape of the education sector.
“We are going to focus on quality education for social economic development so that in the other three years when I look back, I will be saying these are the things I brought,” she said.
“Watching Zambians importing people from Zimbabwe to come and do plumbing and roofing here, waiting for the Chinese to come and do roads here, can’t we do that? It’s a pity to our education sector and together with my colleague Honourable [David] Mabumba we are resolved to change the landscape of the education sector in the country. We want you students, lecturers and management to move with us. There will be no free time because we are all getting down to work…but those who want to be part of us and focus on education and doing the right thing should remain here.”
Prof Luo said the country’s education system required total transformation so as to change the current way in which it was being delivered.
“Education is not about sitting in a classroom and listening to lecturers and pass exams. That is being schooled and we have a lot of people in Zambia that are schooled. An educated person is competitive, a critical thinker, problem solver while a schooled person when they graduate they go to look for who is connected to who and tell them that find me a job,” she said.
Prof Luo commended management at Rusangu University for its effort in putting up infrastructure befitting a higher learning institution as well as honouring individuals that contributed to what the place was now by naming the newly built hostels after them.
She pointed out that it was important to honour people that worked tirelessly because that had potential to promote hard work to others.
“It’s a pity we are not praising management of this school while they are still alive for their great efforts among them the reduction of tuition fees because if you go to UNZA (University of Zambia) it’s very expensive than here. In Zambia we are full of jealous and hatred that we can’t recognize those that are doing good,” said Prof Luo.
“There is too much inertia in this country. People don’t want to work hard. So if we start honouring people who are working hard then others also will get motivated to work hard. What Rusangu University has done in building these two hostels at its town campus is commendable because that is providing infrastructure conducive for the learning environment and not what we see around where people turn houses and call them a university. We should stop this system of turning houses into universities. We need infrastructure that befits the standards of a university.”
Rusangu University vice-chancellor Dr Pardon Mwansa said students at his institution were looking forward to the day and time when government would extend student loans scheme to them as well.
“The students here are looking forward to the day and time when they will have the privilege of getting a student loan or bursary in whatever form it may come. As Rusangu University we will continue partnering with government to educate men and women for this country,” said Dr Mwansa. “The names of people at the hostels symbolise where we are coming from and the sacrifices we went through.”
Meanwhile, Rusangu University Council chairman Dr Harrington Akombwa thanked the government for creating an enabling environment in which the Church had been able to play its part of emulating Jesus Christ’s work of healing, preaching and teaching.
“As the Seventh Day Adventist Church, these infrastructure developments we are putting up, we are not competing with anyone but merely emulating the work of Jesus Christ,” said Dr Akombwa. “When Jesus used to walk from village to village he was doing three important things which is healing and these are hospitals we have; Teaching, these are schools we have and Preaching, these are churches we built so really as SDA church we are just emulating Jesus ‘s work.”