NATIONAL Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) executive director Aaron Chansa has called on government to consider allocating 21 percent of the 2021 budget to the education sector.

In a statement, Monday, Chansa said the sector had seen a reduction of funding in the past years which had negatively affected it.

“As the nation awaits for the presentation of the 2021 national budget later this month , National Action for Quality Education in Zambia( NAQEZ) demands for 21 % allocation to the education sector.For far too long, the Ministry of Finance has really forsaken education funding in Zambia; from 20.2% funding to the sector in 2015, education just received 15.3% and 12.4 % in 2019 and 2020 respectively.This kind of funding will not take the country anywhere, socially and economically,” Chansa stated.

“We hold the view that the current terrible funding to education in Zambia offends the guidance by SADC ,is against the aspirations of the 7th National Development Plan and will prevent the country from attaining vision 2030.We therefore, challenge the Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, to demonstrate to the country seriousness with education, through the 2021 budget.”

Chansa said government should also consider separating funds of general education from higher education in order to address sector-specific challenges.

“With more than 50,000 trained teachers but unemployed, the sector needing more than 1.3 million desks ,the urgent need for good teacher motivation, funding of Universities and Colleges , purchasing of more computers and books ,it would be shocking if the Minister of Finance will once again undermine the importance of education through a paltry allocation. NAQEZ further expects the budget to clearly separate funding of General Education from Higher Education. Our proposal is that Ministry of General Education alone must receive 13 % of the total national budget while Ministry of Higher Education must have 8 % of the national budget,” stated Chansa.

“As an organization, we strongly believe that Zambia will never sustainably develop with insignificant investments in education.Countries such as Singapore ,China, Malaysia and India have developed faster because of their huge investments in education.It is either we take a leaf from the above economic tigers or we continue with our under development.”