Zambia’s High Commissioner to Ethiopia Emmanuel Mwamba says the education system in Zambia is tailored to produce employees not entrepreneurs.
And Mwamba has observed that the economy is highly informal with a narrow formal employment base.
In a statement shared on Facebook, Mwamba said there was need for a focused approach and a fundamental change of school curriculum.
“Our education system designed to produce workers. (It also promotes white collar jobs and denigrates blue collar ones.)This education system as we know it is about 200 years old. Our Educational System was designed to produce workers and not entrepreneurs. Probably we need a focused approach and fundamentally change our school curriculum and invest more in technical, vocational and entrepreneurial education, that promotes innovation, creates graduates that will employ themselves and employ others…graduates with skills to create jobs and wealth. Do you wonder when you will use the knowledge from your Geography lessons about Canada, its prairies and its Great Lakes? Do you wonder just when you will use the bulk of knowledge of irrelevant matters in courses you memorized, learnt and passed?” Ambassador Mwamba wondered.
“Don’t you wonder how our education system is praised abroad that it is quality and produces skilled staff…Our engineers, architects, medical doctors, bankers and accountants are thriving in Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and the USA but some are virtually unemployed in our own economy .We have a population of about 9 million people eligible for work but only 1.3 million are employed in the formal sector.”
And Ambassador Mwamba wondered why Zambia was churning out graduates who were skilled in jobs that barely existed in its economy.
“And your wonderful numeracy and literacy skills appear to be of no broader use to the practicality of our daily lives? Why are we churning out graduates year-in- year-out, trained, skilled, and prepared for jobs that barely exist in our economy?” he asked.
And Ambassador Mwamba observed that Zambia’s economy was highly informal.
“The informal economy with a wide informal sector of the economy, or grey economy is the part of an economy that is neither taxed or difficult to tax, measure and hard to monitored by government. The informal economy is also the diversified set of economic activities, enterprises, jobs, and workers that are not regulated or protected. It has been expanded to include wage employment in unprotected jobs. Although the informal sector makes up a significant portion of the economies in developing countries, it is often stigmatized as troublesome or unmanageable. You have probably heard from various experts that the size of Zambia’s economy (GDP) is far bigger than the $26.5billion. In fact both the IMF and World Bank have since advised government to rebase the size of its economy to reflect the true activities in the economy,” Ambassador Mwamba stated.
He further added that Zambia’s education curriculum produced graduates fit for a knowledge economy and not the informal economy.
“Zambia’s education curriculum produces graduates fit for a knowledge economy and not the informal economy. It is for this reason that our graduates can thrive anywhere in the Western World but be stuck in our economy. A knowledge economy on the other hand is an economy directly based on production, distribution and utilization of knowledge and information as fundamental enablers of growth, wealth creation and employment. We need to match the graduates to suit the current structure of our economy,” stated Ambassador Mwamba.