University of Zambia (UNZA) registrar Sitali Wamundila says the university might not reopen this month end as rehabilitation works have not been concluded.

At a media briefing, Tuesday, Wamundila lamented that the institution was wrestling with financial and human resource challenges which had greatly hampered progress of the rehabilitation works.

Wamundila, however, disclosed that UNZA had channeled K1,000,000 towards rehabilitation works to supplement government’s efforts.

“From the time the University was closed, the following works have been undertaken and still in progress; rehabilitation of the ablution blocks; mending of the water leakages and the general improvement of water supply. During this period, the honourable Minister of Higher Education [Prof Nkandu Luo] has been visiting the university to inspect the state of the institution hostels, ablution blocks and the surroundings in general. All the visitations have been for purposes of assessing the readiness of the institution for re-opening. The institution has also had visitations made by the public health inspectors from the Ministry of Health and Lusaka City Council (LCC) on January 2, 6 and 8th to 9th, 2018,” Wamundila said.

“During these inspections, it has been established that while the environment has been generally cleaned, the state of the University infrasructure still requires great improvement. However to achieve this, a lot of financial and human resources are required. So far, the University has channeled about K1,000,000 towards the works. However, the lack of adequate financial and human resources has greatly hampered progress of the rehabilitation. The public may wish to know that the university was built over 50 years ago and therefore, most of its infrastructure requires massive rehabilitation. Further, the University of Zambia being the largest university in the country in terms of infrastructure and students numbers, the amount of works required to be done are also massive.”

Wamundila said UNZA might not reopen by end of February which would further affect the academic calendar.

“It is hoped that the institution will meet the standards set by the inspectors when they visit the institution for further inspections to warrant the re-opening of the university by the end of February 2018. In order to keep the nation informed at all times, management have another press statement towards the end of February. This closure has already affected the school calender because students were expected to start learning in on 2nd January so this means that we have already lost a month. And if we don’t re-open by the end of February then that means we are going to lose two months and then that will mean that we will have to conclude our academic calender in January 2019. However, I would like to mention that the ongoing rehabilitation works will not translate into increased fees tuition for students,” said Wamundila.

And a tour of the ongoing rehabilitation works at the institution revealed that two water tanks were under construction scheduled to be completed by mid-March.