Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo says she has never seen the kind of dirt that she found in UNZA hostels during her tour when the cholera epidemic broke out.
Meanwhile, Prof Luo has insisted that she would not meet Copperbelt University lecturers over their demands to remove Vice Chancellor Prof Naison Ngoma from the helm of the institution.
Speaking at a PF media interactive forum, Sunday, Prof Luo urged students to practice cleanliness at all times.
“I took tours of the hostels at the time of the cholera epidemic after we got a report that we cannot open any of these institutions until they are brought to speed. What I saw, and I want to repeat this because I said it before but because there are so many media houses here, I want to say this, I have never seen the kind of dirt that I found in our hostels. And I said to the students, when I was a student myself and I was given a room, I pride in that room, I looked or the best things in my room, I learnt how to paint my room as a student, I was very proud to have a beautiful cover on my bed and I arranged the books properly. Those days we didn’t even have computers but I put my type writer on my table. What I saw, I couldn’t believe. I said to the medical students, I can live with students at the main campus’ dirt but I cannot live with it, with the medical students. The cockroaches in the kitchen. You know how when you are cooking nshima, the nshima falls on the rings? Then it starts burning black, they don’t clean then the next one comes to cook on top of that black patch so you have layers and layers. I can’t eat that food! I told them you have a wonderful immune system because I would have been dead by now,” Prof Luo said.
She narrated that at one time she found a woman locked in her house with her children with feaces all over the place.
“There is something that has gone wrong and that’s why all of us should have listened very attentively to the presidential address on Friday because the President was talking about our value system as a people. You cannot reduce yourself to that level of dirt. Then what are you going to be? University is not for training people to pass mathematics, English and engineering. It is a place for total development because you are developing that child for the world. When they leave there, they are going to be employed and they will be responsible for other people. Now if you were not responsible as a student [what will happen?] Yesterday I went to visit one of the things that even at night I woke up and went to vomit when I thought about it and I am very serious. I was in Chainda because of the Cholera epidemic and I was followed to say ‘come and see this house, how it stinks’. The soldiers broke that door, do you know what was inside? A woman with children and feaces all over. The husband locks them up when he is going to work and has given them buckets to pee. When their bucket is full, there is a bath, these steel baths, thats where they pour and they are there. I mean, if you are able to reduce to that level as people, I don’t know what we are about,” she said.
Prof Luo urged citizens to analyze President Lungu’s address on national values and put it into practice.
“So when the President was speaking, every single word that he said, we must take it seriously. When I am in my constituency even at 10, the youths are drunk. What are we making of this country? We have a serious problem on our hands and it is so serious that all of us must rise to the occasion and this is why for us, we want to introduce short courses so that we mop up these youths, give them training, release them to the world to set up little businesses. But this thing of getting up, ‘I want a job’, ‘okay, where are your credentials?’ Grade seven, ‘the only work you can do is this’, ‘no, me I want to be a supervisor’. So our ministry is very critical to changing the landscape of this country. Therefore, we have introduced the following in the university, that every university and institution of higher learning will have what is called the career center. The career centre will be a place where every student will pass through. They will be taught about the values of the world and also how to present themselves, how to dress, how to sit for interviews, how to write proposals…how you talk to adults, we can’t all be adults, someone has to be a child but now we are all adults,” Prof Luo said adding that government would soon introduce a monthly cleaning day where all ministers would participate.
Meanwhile, Prof Luo insisted that she would not meet CBU lecturers over their demands to remove Prof Ngoma from the institution.