National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has urged government to rescind the decision to ban schools from requesting pupils to take toilet paper and reams of paper, among others, when reporting for a new term.

Last week, the Ministry of General Education banned schools from requesting pupils to take toilet paper, polishing wax and reams of paper, among others, when reporting for a new term.

In an interview, NAQEZ executive director Aaron Chansa noted that the move was welcome, but was ill-timed on account of some schools, which remained poorly-funded.

“As an organization that pushes for quality education in the country, we are not against the pronouncement by the Ministry that learners must not take tissue, reams of paper and other items to school. But we feel that the call is not well timed, it’s not well-meaning because, currently, schools are not well-funded, parents are not paying, the Ministry has abandoned our schools and we don’t think that the same Ministry, which is not funding schools should call parents or learners not to take these items, which are very important in schools. Because we know that when learners go to school, they need to use toilets, schools need to use paper for various reasons and we seriously think that the Ministry must rethink this pronouncement, they must consider funding schools more before calling for learners not to take these items to schools,” observed Chansa.

“It’s very good call, but not well-timed, not well meaning and the Ministry can do better than this. We are not against the pronouncement, but we are against the timing and the attachment to this pronouncement. So, we call upon the Minister (of General Education, David Mabumba) and the PS (Dr Jobbicks Kalumba) to seriously look at the funding to schools, otherwise, if the status remains the same, then we feel that learners must take tissue and papers to school.”