Education ministry has monumental challenges – NAQEZ

THE National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) says it eagerly looks forward to overhauling Zambia’s education system through extensive reviews of the national policy on education, the education Act, curriculum and syllabi.

Executive director Aaron Chansa has welcomed the appointment of Douglas Syakalima as education minister.

Chansa said considering that he was an educationist who knows the challenges which teachers, lecturers, students and learners have over the years been facing, the organisation had confidence that Syakalima would be equal to the task and change the course of the education sector.

“He comes to a sector which is dear to the President’s heart, but one ministry with monumental challenges such as demotivated teachers due to a multitude of unmet needs and wants. Unlike his immediate predecessors who frowned upon stakeholder engagements, our new minister should embrace all stakeholders in moving the ministry forward through a consultative process, which process is mentioned in the UPND manifesto of 2021-2026 under the education component,” he said. “While we would have loved to continue with two ministries of education, we hold the view that what is going to be more important is the amount of financial attachment to education in the 2022 budget and beyond.”

He recalled that even with two ministries under the PF government, the budgetary allocation to the education sector continued was terribly low.

Chansa said this saw the country having more than 58,000 unemployed teachers, thousands of teachers not being confirmed in substantive positions, thousands of teachers not being upgraded in salary scales, a deficit of more than 1.3 million desks, thousands of university students without loans and meal allowances and less money spent on college and university education.

He said NAQEZ was further delighted to note that the President had created a Ministry of Science and Technology.

Chansa said this could not have come at a better time than now when every country was investing heavily in science and technology.

He said collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Infrastructure and other line ministries, the science and technology ministry could be instrumental in driving industrialisation, which had potential to create jobs for the youths and other citizens.

Chansa said with adequate funding to the Ministry of Science and Technology for five years, Zambia would become scientifically and technologically competitive among others in the community of nations.

“We eagerly look forward to overhauling Zambia’s education system through extensive reviews of the national policy on education, the education Act, the curriculum and syllabi. Without attending to these matters, the country will continue to have a system of education that will always produce job seekers instead of churning out graduates who can innovate, invent and create jobs,” said Chansa. “As an organisation, we shall give the new Minister of Education maximum support for the benefit of education and mother Zambia.”

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