Yes. According to George Chisanga writing in the government marshalled paper. Its unfortunate that the article reads like an electoral spin. In many respects its an opportunity missed because reading Mr Chisanga's verbiage, properly reconstructed could, in theory, provide some credible, albeit shaky, defence of the MMD's 20 year record on education. It is that 20 year record that Zambians should examine in 2011 for all sectors :
How MMD Government improved education, George Chisanga, Times of Zambia, Commentary :
My God-given ability to control my anger saved me from getting into trouble for assault when a person who gave me such a wrong response to the question: “How much do you think teachers get for a salary every month?” At that time, a teacher’s salary should have been between K600,000 and K800,000. I imagined how many others could be receiving such kind of answers to innocent questions. In the same way, so many could be having unfounded hate for the working Government of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), which has tried its best to do what it can for the benefit of all Zambians, including teachers.
Today, there is no single teacher whose salary is less than K1.5 million in Zambia – and some go as far as K2.4 million per month. The Government even gives every teacher housing allowance, depending on his/ her salary scale. Other teachers get responsibility allowance, some extra-duty allowance. And those in the countryside, there is rural hardship allowance or remote allowance. In other words, most teachers get at least two or three of these allowances. As a result of this, people should begin to say something to thank the Government.
While the Government has introduced these benefits, what has the teacher done? Nothing more than refusing all these allowances in preference to town life, where these allowances are non-applicable! Should the Government be blamed then? The MMD Government has been encouraging people to further their education, no wonder so many teachers have in the recent past flocked to the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Zambia Open University. For your own information, any additional paper to your qualifications earns you an increase on your take-home pay. And if any teacher, out of his/her own will, has not utilised this chance, are we being fair by blaming our hard-working Government? I say NO! And a big NO!
A 2005 Challenge Magazine, volume 17 on page three, states that most Zambian teachers live on pop-corns for breakfast. But hey, give me a break and be factual! Truth is, all teachers who are in such situations have put themselves there. How? The well-meaning Government has allowed all teachers to borrow from banks and other financial institutions like Blue, Bayport, Capital Solutions, among others, and what has the teacher done? Nothing more than abusing these facilities by dubiously over-borrowing! Who gets the blame for this? A well-meaning Zambian would blame the teacher, but the opposite of a well-meaning Zambian, that is, the opportunist, a sadist, will be quick to blame the Government. It is important to get facts right before saying hills and mountains against the Government on the welfare of teachers in the country.
One issue that has been outstanding is the fixed-band allowance. So much has been said against the Government in the past. Now that the Government has honoured its promise, why are all people silent? The Government has so many other areas of concern as education is not the only sector. Teachers are studying. Teachers are driving. Teachers are running businesses. Teachers have bought and built houses.
What about deployment of teachers? If you are a Zambian, you will agree with me that of late, teachers have been deployed without staying at home for long. Furthermore, have you ever taken time to visit secondary or high schools? Did you pick on the bad side of that institution or the good side of it?
A thankful heart receives more blessings than one, which is always wasting all its pumps finding baseless faults to criticise. Thank God for the current leadership, which is selfless but willing to serve the citizenry. These are real developments that we ought to thank the Government for! What about schools that have been constructed or being constructed from the scratch? Are we going to pretend that we do not know a thing about them? It is not fair!
Commend to encourage and motivate for more!
For so many years, Zambia has had two universities only. Why then does the MMD Government not get commended for the prevailing situation now? Let’s move round the country: Mulungushi University has joined the bandwagon. What has happened to Nkrumah College of Education? What about Copperbelt College of Education? What about the upgrading of Kitwe College of Education, Livingstone College of Education? All these are now offering degree programmes! What an achievement for President Rupiah Banda and the MMD Government!
The Government acknowledges further that on its own alone, it cannot do everything, hence, encouraging the private sector. We have St Eugene University, Northrise University, Catholic University, and the Zambia Open University, all of which run according to the Government regulations.
In all honesty, are we not aware of these institutions? Have they just dropped from Heaven? Have they been around all along? Get to Kabwe Trades, Lusaka Trades, Nortec, Lukashya Trades. Funding to these institutions has been superb. User fees paid by students are put to good use because of Government policy. What else do we need in order to give credit to this Government. What about the lecturers? Can some one tell me a college or university without lecturers in any subject or module?
People, the devil you know is better than the angel you do not know!