UPND deputy spokesperson Patricia Mwashingwele says Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo should brush off her arrogance towards university lecturers and dialogue with them over their challenges.

And Mwashingwele says Prof Luo is being mischievous and unfair to Zambians and she needs to humble herself.

“I think Professor Luo is being very mischievous and very unfair to Zambians. I come from the teaching profession, [and] it takes a long time to produce capable lecturers. It’s not somebody graduating from the University and then they become lecturers. The experience that they have is not an easy task. I think Professor Luo should be humble. I always tell myself that if only Professor Luo could be humble towards these lecturers, life would be much easier for all of us, but if you dare them to say ‘leave!’ Yes, they can leave and they have everywhere to go, but at whose cost? Because whoever she is going to employ will need to be paid,” Mwashingwele said in an interview.

She said as a Cabinet Minister, Prof Luo should understand that getting new lecturers would be more costly than paying the already existing quality human resource.

“So, the arrogance that Professor Luo is showing to the lecturers is just unprecedented! A Minister of Higher Education should be able to understand that the cost of getting someone to become a lecturer is much higher. There are hidden costs; there are direct and indirect costs. So, I think she shouldn’t go for the ‘resign if you want!’ [But] she should be able to negotiate. And I always tell her that for higher education, whether its students or lecturers, you can’t dictate [but] you have to negotiate. And Professor Luo should learn the skill of negotiation instead of actually dictating to the lecturers and the students,” she said.

“In fact, if she is going to call for expatriates, they will even be more expensive than our local people. Why is she being arrogant? Please, let her be humble, our children are going to suffer! And I beg our lectures to stay and not look at Nkandu Luo. Nkandu Luo is not the ultimate, our children are the ultimate. They should not leave our children in a desperate situation. Let them look at our children and not look at Luo’s arrogance! Who dares this human resources that ‘if you want, go?’ True, I would support, they are calling for her resignation or for her being changed to another Ministry, maybe Higher Education is complicated for her. I support the lecturers [because] I know what they are going through, it’s not a joke!”

Mwashingwele asked Prof Luo to apologize to lecturers rather than displaying arrogance.

“And the government should be aware that they are on the wrong side! Having lecturers not paid for two months or one month running into another month is not just right [because] they have given service! So, instead of being arrogant, she should actually apologize and explain why the government is always a month behind when it comes to payment; why the government is behind when it comes to handling students fees or whatever other monies that they are supposed to be given. But then you hear now the lecturers are daring her, ‘dare us, then we can leave – CBU lecturers dare Luo.’ This is not a joke and you people who are writing can you please explain what this is going to do to the country. This is going to kill all of us because these people can go anywhere, but where are we going to find the same people of the same quality to come and train our children?” asked Mwashingwele.