University of Zambia and Copperbelt University (CBU) Vice-Chancellors Professors Luke Mumba and his CBU counterpart Naison Ngoma, respectively, must resign for failure to properly manage the higher learning institutions, says the National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQUEZ).
In a statement, NAQUEZ executive director Aaron Chansa lamented that the two universities were grossly being mismanaged, characterized by continued delayed payment of staff salaries, which was an insult to the education sector in the country.
He, therefore, called on both of them to immediately resign to allow for fresh blood to properly run the higher learning institutions more effectively.
“NAQEZ is demanding for Prof Luke Mumba, the University of Zambia Vice-Chancellor and Prof Naison Ngoma, Vice Chancellor of the Copperbelt University (CBU), to immediately resign and allow capable individuals to run our two public Universities. Today, the University of Zambia as well as the Copperbelt University are in shambles, not just because the Ministry of Higher Education has neglected the institutions, but also because management teams at the institutions are grossly incompetent and are too economically inactive,” Chansa said.
“Because of lack of interest in UNZA and CBU from the Ministry of Higher Education and absence of innovation from management teams, workers at the two important national Universities are now two months without getting their salaries! We take special note that our intellectuals at UNZA and CBU are now resorting to protests before receiving salaries. This trend is very sad, embarrassing, an insult to higher education and an assault on the country as a whole.”
He wondered why UNZA was finding difficulties in paying its workers when it had a huge financial resource base.
“NAQUEZ finds it very hard to imagine that UNZA, for example, can fail to pay salaries when the institution is receiving a lot of money from East Park Mall rentals, has a state-of-art industrial printer; has York Farms, Liempe Farm; has distance students; Marshlands Village and has great potential to build hotels within its premises. We cannot believe that both CBU and UNZA cannot pay salaries when the universities have the best brains to make money through consultancy! The institutions can go into shareholding; they can commercially do farming and massively venture into various enterprises. We are aware that Zamnet, the first company to bring the Internet facility in Zambia, was owned by the University of Zambia,” he said.
“Why, then, are the two Chancellors too moribund that they cannot do anything to add value to the local economy? Why is it that both UNZA and CBU are no longer attracting foreign students? Why are the two chancellors engaging themselves in unending foreign travels and very expensive personal undertakings if the two universities have no money? We want to know why, for example, the University of Zambia cannot sustain parallel programmes; we surely need management changes at UNZA and CBU. We need new blood; we need better ideas for UNZA and CBU to get back to their glory days!”
Chansa called for administrative and structural reform at the two universities to promote efficiency.
“NAQEZ wishes to remind citizens that despite UNZA and CBU having financial crises, the two universities have maintained very bloated and highly unproductive administrative structures. Our deep analysis suggests that these administrative structures at UNZA and CBU must quickly be reformed to promote efficiency and effectiveness in running the two institutions. Further, NAQEZ finds it strange for UNZA and CBU Councils to keep the two chancellors in office in the face of overwhelming incompetency and abuses at CBU and UNZA. The nation needs to know why the two chancellors are still in office when they have completely failed to manage affairs of the two universities,” he said.
“NAQEZ is aware that the Minister of Higher Education has been sitting on a dossier against the CBU Vice-Chancellor. Why is the Minister dragging his feet and failing to act on this straightforward report? We need to shelve personal interests and mobilize best brains to run UNZA and CBU. We are tired of the confusion at these two universities; entities, which were once symbols of national pride.”
And Chansa said government should reconsider facilitating the acquisition of a K200 million loan by UNZA to help liquidate the financial challenges at the University.
“On the other hand, we wonder why the Minister of Higher Education, Brian Mushimba, has refused to facilitate the acquisition of a K200 million loan by UNZA to help liquidate the historical financial challenges at the University. We appeal to him to rescind his refusal and help UNZA get back on track through this loan. As an organization, we crave for better funding of higher education in Zambia, coupled with superior managers of our universities,” urged Chansa.
“Lastly, but very cardinal, we demand for the Ministry of Higher Education to release the UNZA and CBU grants now and also to begin releasing funds to respective universities as soon as the Ministry makes loan recoveries from former students. The culture by government of holding onto funds meant for universities has left a trail of academic destruction at UNZA and CBU.”