DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says government’s inability to give the right amount of grants in good time is putting learning institutions at risk and jeopardising education standards in the country.
Commenting on government’s directive that schools and colleges should not send learners away in a bid to collect user fees, Kalaba said the decision was commendable but should be done while addressing the financial deformity learning institutions faced.
He noted that most learning institutions were not self-sustainable because of not implementing the much-needed policy direction on projects such as the production unit.
“The approach taken of not chasing pupils from schools and students from colleges is okay. However, if it is done without attending to the current financial deformity the learning institutions are facing, then jeopardising the education standards is being defined. Most learning institutions are not self-sustainable because of not implementing the much needed policy direction on projects such as the production unit. Inability to give grants in good time and right amount for the right cause is putting institutions at risk of lowering the quality and standards. There is need to formulate a policy framework that must make institutions draft project proposals after orientation from multisectoral involvement,” Kalaba said in response to a press query, Saturday.
“Funding must consider this aspect so that institutions embark on sustainable developmental projects to make themselves viable. Monitoring and periodic evaluation must be done to safeguard the funds and ensure that the project proposed is undertaken with quality accountability. Most headteachers and college management staff are under pressure with pronouncements devoid of practical approach to deal with reality as far as financial challenges are concerned. The reality is that schools and colleges on a wider scope are bankrupt. Pronouncements must go with a practical policy based backup plan otherwise we shall reap disaster in Education. The DP believes in sustainable development agenda which is a result of self-reliance after engaging stakeholders on mindset change.”
On Friday, Education Minister Douglas Syakalima directed Provincial Education Officers, District Education Board Secretaries and headteachers to ensure that no school or college sends learners away in a bid to collect user fees.
“I, therefore, direct all Provincial Education Officers, District Education Board Secretaries and headteachers to ensure that no school or college should send a pupil or student away from school in a bid to collect user fees. That is a complete departure from the guidance given by the Ministry. Learners had already lost valuable learning hours and we must not be seen to be salt to the injury. Let us treasure the little time we have in schools to catch up on the lost learning hours. There is no substitute to obedience to set guidelines, and departure from such does not reflect well especially in the Ministry that must act as a model of excellence to the nation,” Syakalima said.
“Administrators and every level of supervision will be held responsible if pupils or students get caught up in road traffic accidents in the process of getting them to their homes to collect school requirements. I, therefore, urge all authorities at various levels of our Ministry to seriously reflect on their actions and judge for themselves if what they are doing is for the greater good of the nation. I expect that henceforth order shall prevail in our efforts aimed at effectively implementing specific policy guidelines that the Ministry will issue from time to time.”