VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango says the free education policy is one of the many promises which the UPND has fulfilled in less than six months since assuming office.
Speaking during the annual general meeting of the Christian Colleges and Universities Association (CCUA), Tuesday, Vice-President Nalumango said the free education policy was already being appreciated by parents and guardians whose burdens had almost reduced to zero.
“It is in response to the need to secure robust and quality education countrywide, that the UPND-led government has delivered free education to all schools in every part of Zambia without exception. This is unprecedented in the history of Zambia. Again, this is one of the many promises government has fulfilled in less than six months since assuming office on 24th September 2021. This landmark achievement has not only brought smiles among learners but also a huge relief to the parents who are now using the money which was meant for school fees and other requirements to meet other necessities in homes. I wish to state that for the learners, the free education policy is already appreciated by parents and guardians whose burdens have almost reduced to zero,” she said.
The Vice-President, however, noted that despite the positive impact of the free education policy, more classroom and boarding spaces were required as a matter of urgency.
“In the case of colleges and universities, we are bound to see a sharp increase in the number of school leavers who will need space in colleges and universities. This brings me to the important role that colleges and universities play by absorbing school leavers as they pursue their higher education goals. Therefore, more classroom and boarding spaces are required as a matter of urgency. Notwithstanding the positive impact of the free education policy, I am aware that expanding classroom and boarding spaces is inevitable in both public and private universities,” she said.
“This also brings us to another challenge of increased number of students against the optimum level of staff required to provide a conducive environment. I, therefore, call for innovative approaches such as increasing on-line teaching taking lessons from the technology interventions induced by COVID-19 where hybrid and total online learning have been adopted by most universities on the global level. Zambia has also benefitted from this learning mode notwithstanding that contact learning is still required in some cases.”
And Vice-President Nalumango said colleges and universities should invest more in guiding students by building values that are commensurate with national values and principles.
She observed that there was a tendency for moral decay once students were far away from their parents or guardians.
“Allow me to address another important aspect of college and university education. There is a tendency for moral decay once students are far away from their parents or guardians. As such colleges and universities have to invest more in guiding students by building values that are commensurate with our national values and principles. This brings me to the importance of inculcating the values attached to the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation in our education system. The declaration is important as a tool for building a citizenry which values Christianity at all levels of society. Government, therefore, fully appreciates the idea of forming Christian colleges and universities association not because you want to isolate yourselves as a unique group but rather to align your values and those of students with the proclamation which is embodied in our Constitution,” said Vice-President Nalumango.
“These values are important because they are a beacon shining the pathways of every student under your custody. Beyond the students, the approach also must be embodied in the learning materials and behaviour of the students. This is very important for the country and indeed for my office because one of the mandates of my office is to instill morality in society as part of implementing the national values and principles aligned to the principles of Christianity.”