Former Secretary to Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika has observed that the country’s political and education systems have failed to improve because political riffraffs have been allowed to define government’s agenda.

And Dr Sacika has called on Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo to come up with carefully planned school programmes that can equip students with creativity, explaining that the biggest failure in the country’s education system, especially at tertiary level, was failure to produce creative thinkers.

In an interview with News Diggers, Dr Sacika noted that political cadres were busy running government while educated people were more interested in winning elections as opposed to improving the country’s political system.

“For as long as I can remember, the Zambian government, starting with the UNIP government, has bee carrying out educational reforms aimed at improving the education on offer to our children. Over the years we have been able to increase with formal education. But we have sacrificed the quality for quantity and we have failed to equip our young stars with employable skills. As a result, the unemployment situation in our country among the youth is now a thread to the political stability of our country,” Dr Sacika observed.

“The biggest failure of our education system, especially at high levels, is that it is failing to produce men and women with creative thinking skills. Our university and colleague students acquire knowledge, some of it quite so stricken, the arts and sciences. But they do not poses creative thinking skills. So their education ends at a bookish knowledge, which is useful only in securing employment on the labour market.”

He said for society to prosper, it needed people of sound character.

“The other failure is that our education system is not geared to producing young men and women of sound character. For society to prosper, it needs such people education should not only be about enabling a person to find a good job on the labour market. Educated people must be the standard bearers of the society, they should show the way. But alas! This is not happening in our country. Our educated people cannot even run simple State-owned enterprises. In politics, they have allowed the political riffraffs, the so-called ‘party cadres’ to define the agenda of politics and political life. Our educated people are more interested in winning the elections and not in improving our political systems. These are the challenges Nkandu Luo is facing, how do we create an education system that will produce creative thinkers and men and women of sound character? Unless she can come up with a formula that will tackle these problems, all the education conferences Nkandu Luo is conducting are exercises in futility,” Dr Sacika said.

Meanwhile, Dr Sacika called on Prof Luo to come up with carefully planned school programmes that could equip students with creative skills.

“Thinking creatively is an art which can be acquired through carefully planned school programmes. Traditional institutions such as ‘Mukanda’ for the boys and ‘Sikenge’ for the girls were useful in preparing young boys and girls for life adulthood. What are the modern substitutes of these institutions? These are the areas Nkandu Luo and her colleagues in the education system should be exploring. Education is not just about sitting in a classroom and receiving knowledge. Education is much wider than that. It also means experiencing, participating in real situations in life. That’s what constitutes the totality of education,” said Dr Sacika.