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Monday, 5 October 2009

Call for Free Education (Guest Blog)

The appeal made by UNICEF country representative, Lotta Sylwander, to the Zambian government to extend free education beyond Grade 7 to Grade 9 by next year should be applauded by all citizens who have the interest of the youth in the country at heart.

In fact, the provision of free education from Grade 1 through Grade 12, as I have often maintained, is long overdue. We also need to abolish Grade 7 and Grade 9 elimination examinations.

There are some citizens who fear that the provision of free education from Grade 1 through Grade 12 without elimination examinations will erode the quality of formal education in the country. Here is how we can maintain the quality of education after abolishing Grade 7 and Grade 9 elimination examinations:

1) End-of-term and end-of-year examina tions should contin ue to be admi nistered to gauge each and every pupil’s intelle ctual develop­ment. And transcripts showing students’ performance in these examinations should be made available to parents and guardians in order to afford families the opportunity to bolster school authorities’ efforts to counsel and motivate pupils.

2) Home work should be mandatory, and should be given out to each student weekly or fortnightly.

3) Computer laboratories should be established at educational and training institutions nationwide, and the computers should eventually be connected to the Internet. We need to equip the youth with the computer skills they need in order to compete successfully in the modern socio-economic system.

4) A teachers’ council and an accreditation board should be established and charged with the responsibility of monitoring, regulating and boosting the standard and quality of formal education nationwide.

5) The Ministry of Education should work closely with the Private Schools and Colleges Association to have examination centers at all private schools at public expense.

6) We should make a sustained effort to cater for the basic needs of the educational system, including: (a) schools and classrooms that are adequately equipped for both teaching and learning; (b) qualified, self-motivated and well-paid teachers in every classroom; and (c) competent school administrators on competitive conditions of service, and adequate office supplies and fixtures.

7) Publishers of educa tional books like the Zambia Educa tional Publishing House and the University of Zambia Press should be adequately financed in order to make it possible for them to have the neces sary mate rial and finan cial resourc es to saturate the local market with low-cost reading materi als.

8) Taxes on all kinds of school supplies and rea ding materials should be removed in order to make them more affordable and pro vide greater oppor tuni ties for Zambians – both young and old – to enhance their knowledge and skills.

9) Postal rates for all reading materials and school supplies packed in the pre sence of a postal supervi sor should be reduced.

Besides, high-school graduates who would obtain a Division 1 should be automatically awarded scholarships upon being accepted at any Zambian college or university. All other high-school graduates and working Zambian men and women wishing to pursue further studies should be granted with low-interest loans upon being accepted into classroom-based or correspondence-based study programs offered within Zambia.

With frugal management of our financial and material resources, we can easily improve infrastructure in schools and employ more teachers and school administrators to cater for the needs of additional students in Grade 8 through Grade 12.

Henry Kyambalesa
(Guest Blogger / Agenda for Change)


  1. we all due respect sir-
    The Zambian government can not run the current 2 universities - closures over meal allowances/lecturer strikes- primary and secondary schools especially in rural areas are in ruins, teachers strikes every other year.
    Your may think what you propose is feasible,but first show how GRZ can fund the current system before adding to the mess we already have.

    Akim Chola

  2. Akim,

    Zambia can trim its national government and deliver essential services to the people with a smaller number of Cabinet Ministers.

    Besides, we need to abolish the positions of Deputy Minister, Provincial Minister, Provincial Permanent Secretary and District Commissioner, as well as initiate restrictions on leaders’ trips to foreign countries.

    Moreover, we need to reduce the number of Zambia’s foreign embassies by having clusters of countries to be served by single embassies.

    And we should go through government expenditures line by line, program by program, agency by agency, department by department, and ministry by ministry in order to eliminate unnecessary application of public funds.

    The savings to be realized from the planned cost-saving measures should be invested in improving education and training, healthcare services, infrastructure, and agricultural production and food security.

    We can also to apply the savings to be realized from getting rid of meaningless top-level positions in the national government on employing more teachers, healthcare personnel, agricultural extension officers, police officers, and other essential personnel, and on improving their conditions of service.

    How did the government spend so much money on buying 100 hearses at US$29,000 each, and why is President Banda thinking about spending US$53 million on mobile clinics, if there is no money?

    It is just a question of identifying the right national priorities.

  3. Of course we should be able to provide universal secondary education to all Zambians. Afterall Zambia's problem is not a lack of resources but a lack of priorities when it comes to government spending. But let's first get our primary education up to international standards in the schools we have; and then let's get primamry education for all; then we can move onto secondary - no point providing universal secondary education if it is in fact primary education of a poor standard.

  4. Excellent Opportunity to Study

    Institutes in USA have regular discussions that are organized to let students voice any doubts related to their field. Some schools in USA also have industry experts on board that work to establish the reputation of the school. Such interactions may also open doors to job opportunities…………..


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