Education sector under the ‘New Dawn’
Published On February 8, 2022 » 2248 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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•Government has taken steps to ensure every child has access to quality and affordable education.

By ALEXANDER NKOSI –

Education is a great equaliser which helps move families out of poverty and nations out of under development.
Investment in education is, arguably, one of the key steps to development.
Zambia needs skilled manpower to help accelerate economic and social transformation.
The Zambian Government has taken bold steps to increase access to quality and affordable education.
These steps include the following:
• Recruitment of 30,000 teachers
We can have schools and furniture quite alright, however, in the absence of sufficient numbers of teachers, education outcomes will remain poor.
In this regard, once the recruitment of 30,000 teachers is implemented, it will significantly improve the teacher-to-pupil ratio.
This is important to ensure quality education.
• Education infrastructure development
The new Government’s resolve to continue with education infrastructure development is commendable.
While the previous administration built many schools across the country, some learners still walk long distances to access schools.
Some schools, especially in urban areas, are over crowded.
Hence, education infrastructure development still remains key to improving education outcomes.
• School improvement projects through CDF
Under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), K2.4 billion is meant for community projects.
These projects include school improvement programmes, among other things.
This will enable schools buy locally-made furniture and implement other necessary school improvement projects.
This will help improve the teaching and learning environment which is critical to achieving better education outcomes.
Apart from benefiting schools, these projects will also create business opportunities for locals.
• Free education for public day schools
The education foundation of learners plays a critical role in determining how they perform as they progress up the education ladder.
Hence, it is important to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to a good education foundation.
Providing free education for public day schools and bursaries for secondary public schools will go a long way in ensuring every child has access to education.
• Bursaries under CDF for boarding schools
Through the CDF, the Government has allocated K792 million for secondary school and skills development bursaries.
If you are a widow who depends on subsistence farming and the little you raise is all spent on taking your child to a boarding school, you are assured of saving a minimum of K3,600 per year once your child gets on bursaries.
This K3600 can be re-invested into expanding production.
Hence, this is some form of economic empowerment.
• Timely disbursement of grants to schools
Previously, Government used to delay disbursement of funds to schools which made it difficult for them to operate as they should.
This was exacerbated by many learners’ inability to pay full school fees.
Not only has the government taken away the learners’ burden of paying schools fees.
Grants to schools are now released before schools open.
This will improve school operations and delivery of lessons.
• ICT and skills development under the Ministry of Science and Technology
The Ministry of Education will work closely with the Ministry of Science and Technology to promote information, communication and technology (ICT) in the education sector in line with international best practices.
In a dynamic world where things are changing so fast, this is a very important step.
The two ministries will also closely collaborate in promoting vocational and skills development for young people across the country.
Young people equipped with these skills will access empowerment funds under CDF where K803 million has been allocated.
In conclusion, Government has taken the right steps to ensure every child has access to quality and affordable education.
However, there are three critical things we need to optimise benefits from the good steps that have been taken.
These are:
(i) Increased tertiary education sponsorship,
(ii) Improved linkages between education and industry, and
(iii) Vigorous job creation agenda to ensure graduates are taken up by industry.

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