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Govt must resolve UNZA crisis, stop wasting money on building more irrelevant universities – HamududuBy Sipilisiwe Ncube on 4 Jun 2017
Party for National Unity leader Hivie Hamududu has questioned government’s insistence on building more universities when the existing ones are marred by numerous challenges.
Commenting on the ongoing go-slow by the University of Zambia lecturers, Hamududu observed that government was channeling resources to areas where it was irrelevant.
“Government needs to find a holistic approach on these issues of education. What is happening now with the Ministry of Higher education is that they have many infrastructure development projects but the concentration should have been where students are, these institutions like UNZA, CBU, Evelyn Hone, Nkhruma, etc. While we all want to have universities across the country, the roll-out of universities must be systematic. The biggest chunk of the budget has gone in putting up infrastructure in places where it is irrelevant instead of using it on issues affecting where the students are. There is need to harmonize the whole approach in the higher education because the money is being scattered in places where there is no much value at the moment,” Hamududu said.
“I can tell you for example there are many universities coming up, already two universities in Chinsali, Chalimbana is becoming a university, Palabana is becoming a university. These are very expensive projects. Where we stand as a party, we believe that Palabana must be just a school under the University of Zambia, they can move the school of agriculture from the University of Zambia to Palabana but still under the University of Zambia. They are creating so many universities with little top management that gobbles a lot of money. For example in Muchinga, our suggestion is that we maintain one university Robert Makasa University, they are building the Paul Mushindo University! It must only be a technical high school, we need a very powerful technical high school. You cannot keep two universities in one house which is a small town, it will be a ghost university,”
Hamududu said halting the construction of other universities could give government enough money to pay off the debt owed to UNZA lecturers.
“On the Copperbelt, you don’t need to be opening new universities, all you need to do is making them schools under Copperbelt University. The Mukuba University must be a school under Copperbelt University like the way the medical school is. Let us have one administration running schools around. In Central province, let us maintain the Mulungushi University, Nkhruma can be a school of teaching under Mulungushi University to rationalize the expenditure, so that we can have enough money to pay the retirees at the University of Zambia, and to address those short comings,” he said.
“The Ministry must find different approach so that within the budget they are given, they can do more things and there can be harmony in the sector. Schools like the Evelyn Hone College can be a school of commerce under the University of Zambia, NRDC could have been by now a school of agriculture under the University of Zambia. We do not need so many universities that have super structures and in turn gobble a lot of money. So they need to go back to the drawing board and change the approach of addressing these serious problems being faced in higher learning institutions and be more systematic, then we will have harmony now and in the future. Let the Ministry of Higher education rationalize their plan and expenditure within its budget otherwise doing too many things at the same time will make them ignore things that matter the most.”
About Sipilisiwe Ncube
Sipilisiwe Ncube is a Zambian journalist with a background in radio news.
Email: sipilisiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
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