THE year 2021 was painful for the education sector, says National Action for Quality Education in Zambia executive director Aaron Chansa.
Chansa said a lot needs to be done in 2022 to make amends.
“With abrupt closures of schools, colleges and universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of academic activities were impaired. Many learners, especially those in rural areas and those from poor families could not access education,” he noted. “Equally, schooling was devoid of sports and other important extra-curricular activities. Even if learners sat for the 2021 final examinations, clear indications are that most of them did not adequately prepare for these exams.”
Chansa said in 2021 teachers went without salary scale upgrades and confirmations.
He said this highly demotivated them.
“Even the good debt swap initiative for teachers was very short lived. In 2021, it was regrettable that the Ministry of General Education stopped consulting stakeholders. Instead the ministry made a lot of unpleasant decisions, decisions which put God in terrible light,” Chansa said.
He said while men and women in uniform received decent houses, the teaching fraternity was never considered in 2021.
“With learners, some of them continued to learn without sitting on desks. They were still exposed to embarrassing computer-pupil ratios,” he said.
Chansa said higher education was not any better in 2021.
He said funding to colleges and universities was bad and it caused continued delay in completing construction of hostels at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and other higher institutions of learning.
“Also, government failed to give educational loans to deserving students. Only very few students received the much needed loans. It was too sad that in 2021 nothing was done at construction sites of the King Lewanika University in Mongu, FTJ University in Mansa and the other university sites in Kasama,” he noted.
Chansa, however, noted that the education sector “again did not register examination leakages”.
He commended teachers, pupils, the Ministry of Education, the Examinations Council of Zambia, the security wings and all stakeholders for the impressive record.