Free education must be brought back and defended, says M’membe

FREE education was a historic gain that must be brought back and defended, says Socialist Party president Fred M’membe.

He said he belongs to a generation that was extremely lucky when it comes to education.

“We were the first children of this country to start school in an independent Zambia in January 1965. Before independence on October 24, 1964, there was no free education – all had to pay for everything. We didn’t have to pay anything at any level of our education. We were given free uniforms, exercise and text books. We went to school not only to learn but also to eat. We were given milk and milk biscuits at school,” Dr M’membe recalled in a Facebook posting on Saturday.

He said humble workers and peasants’ children went to same schools as the children of leaders, including the children of the president – Dr Kenneth Kaunda.

“Today it is almost impossible for humble workers and peasants’ children to be in the same class, sleep in same dormitory, eat in the same dining hall with children of ministers, presidents. In those days, even children from rural schools could easily make it to the University of Zambia. The best Cambridge ‘O’ Level student in 1976 was my classmate, Charles Malata, from St Francis Secondary School, Malole, Kasama – a son of a humble mine worker from Luanshya. Today Charles, based in Cambridge, is Professor Mister Malata, one of the world’s best plastic surgeons,” he said. “The best student in geography that year for the whole Commonwealth came from Kalabo Secondary School – Dr Cosmas Musumali, the general secretary of the Socialist Party. Two years later Cosmas got a scholarship to study in West Germany where he obtained his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in economics. This is what equal access to education could do! Can a son of a humble worker or peasant achieve this in today’s Zambia?”

Dr M’membe said there were millions of working class people who agree that free education, despite all its problems, was a historic gain that must be brought back and defended.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *