The Zambian National Students Union (ZANASU) has urged government to invest more into the education sector following a reduction in the budgetary allocation over the last three years.

In a statement, ZANASU Information and Publicity Secretary Assa Williey stated that the reduced pass rate in the grade nine examination results should be a signal to government to improve learning infrastructure around the country.

She added that there is need for government to urgently scale-up investment in the education sector given the dwindling budgetary allocations in the last three years.

Declining budgetary allocations to the sector have coincided with substantially reduced pass rates at grade nine level.

Last week, total of 116,616 candidates out of the 255,449 that sat for the Grade 9 examination progressed to grade 10, representing a 45.65 per cent reduction from the 52.76 per cent recorded 12 months prior.

“ZANASU is moved by the reduction in the pass rate of the just-released grade nine examination results. With this kind of results, the government needs to give the education sector more attention and hence the reduction in the budget allocation to education is questionable. Education is the key to success and development, hence if neglected, we are headed to a nation that has leaders with little or no knowledge,” Williey warned.

She additionally said that government needs to ensure all school requirements are met to enhance learning.

“The reduction is alarming and should be a wake up call for the government to improve learning infrastructure. There is need to ensure that schools have conducive rooms and up to standard learning materials. Pupils also need to get into a habit of seriously researching, studying and revising as much as possible, otherwise their performance Will not improve,” she observed.

Williey also cautioned pupils to desist from social media abuse and focus on their studies instead.

“Pupils need to value education and reduce the time spent on social media and other forms of entertainment, it’s important that they give education its own share of time. Zambia’s attainment of universal primary and secondary education depends on our ability to educate our young ones. We also need to keep our teaching staff motivated unlike the current scenario where teachers remain unmotivated,” stated Williey.

Since 2011 when the Patriot Front formed government, there has been a decline in the budgetary allocation to the education sector.

Resources allocated to the education sector rose from 17.5 per cent of the total budget to 20.2 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but this has since dropped from 17.2 per cent to 15.3 per cent of the total budget between 2016 and 2019.