Find us on Google+

Monday, 5 April 2010

MMD has failed to deliver on education (Guest Blog)

I wish to comment on the article which appeared in the Times of Zambia of April 4, 2010 under the title “How MMD Government [Has] Improved Education” by George Chisanga.

It is shameful that both Mr. Chisanga and the Times of Zambia can publish such trash in a newspaper. Firstly, the title of the article should have been about teachers because there is nothing in it that addresses the issue of education in Zambia during the 19 years the MMD has been in power.

Secondly, Mr. Chisanga is most probably not a journalist because all the verbiage he has published in the newspaper is based on his own opinions rather than a sampling of teachers’ views about the adequacy of their
conditions of service with respect to their salaries and allowances.

Thirdly, he has alleged that funding to Kabwe Trades, Lusaka Trades, Nortec, and Lukashya Trades has been superb. Would students, faculty and administrators in these institutions honestly agree with him?

And, among other empty claims, he has cited schools which have been constructed or being constructed from the scratch as one of the highlights of MMD’s quest to improve education in the country. Well, many of these schools have been constructed with funding from donor countries!

My soul bleeds to read such trash being peddled in government-controlled news media. Does Mr. Chisanga think that Zambians are fools who cannot notice the rot in Zambia’s educational system? If his article represents MMD’s view about education in Zambia, then I do not see why any Zambian would want to vote for MMD candidates in 2011 because MMD’s failure to deliver anything of substance in all important areas of human endeavor actually affects every citizen irrespective of their political affiliation.

During the UNIP era, I do not remember seeing school-age children begging on the streets, or selling all kinds of wares in town centers around the country. The blame for this phenomenon falls squarely on the shoulders of the MMD government for its failure to provide adequately for the educational needs of our children.

Since the MMD came to power, we have seen tens of thousands of Grade 7 and Grade 9 students being spilled onto the streets every year. We need to seriously consider the prospect of extending educational opportunities to all Zambia’s children because they are the jewels of our Motherland. “Imiti ikula e mpanga,” a Bemba maxim tells us. It is, therefore, surprising that we have continued to pay lip-service to the educational needs of our country’s youth.

But even in the face of such obvious failure, President Rupiah Banda and Vice President George Kunda are on the campaign trail for re-election in 2011 without any shame!

There is a lot MMD leaders need to do in this endeavor between now and September 2011 in order to improve their chances of winning. Among other things, they need to abolish examination fees and Grades 7 and 9 elimination examinations, and to provide for free education through Grade 12 as an initial step in making education more accessible to all Zambians.

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 programs of study offered within Zambia.

Loan recipients who would graduate with “Distinction” should be excused of 75% of their debt obligations, while those who would graduate with “Merit” should be absolved of 50% of their debt obligations. And all college and university graduates who would sign contracts to work in the teaching, healthcare or agricultural professions within Zambia for at least 4 years should be absolved of 100% of their debt obligations.

Apart from government loans, they should encourage commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in Zambia to consider lending for education as part of their business. The Indo-Zambia Bank students’ loan scheme launched at Mulungushi University in April 2009 is a good start in this endeavor.

To accommodate primary school leavers in secondary schools, as well as continuing Grade 9 students, they need to take the following measures: (a) provide for immediate expansion of facilities at secondary schools which do not currently have extra space for Grades 8 and 10 classes; (b) allow interested secondary school teachers destined for retirement to delay their retirements, as well as hire more of the trained teachers who are currently unemployed; and (c) step up enrolments in training programs for secondary school teachers by at least 5%.

There is a need to 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 or lecturers in every classroom; and (c) competent school administrators on competitive conditions of service, and adequate office supplies and fixtures.

Funding for education and other essential public sectors can be sourced partly from abolishing some of the top level sinecures in government and retire the holders of such sinecures early with full benefits. A lot of material and financial resources can be saved in the long run by taking such a measure, including salaries and allowances, office furniture and fixtures, buildings, automobiles, gasoline, utilities, telephone expenses, and so forth.

Also, there is a need to 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.

Moreover, the government needs to reduce taxes and interest rates so that individuals and businesses can keep more of their earnings for investment and consumption and, in the process, stimulate economic activities and job creation. The new businesses and employees would eventually expand the tax base by contributing to tax revenues.

The people are tired of government leaders who talk the talk without making any tangible or serious effort to walk the walk, so to speak.

Henry Kyambalesa (Guest Blogger)


  1. Chola, When is this theoretical Politician Henry Kyambalesa moving his gumboots in the real world political arena? What has happened to his marriage of convenience to Brig.General Miyanda to turn himself into a PACT voice? Has he abandoned his Agenda for Change internet party? Seemingly he doesn't even bother to hide his cadre mindset haah? Very interesting disposition and language.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thank you for your question.

    Unfortunately, I am not privy to Henry Kyambalesa's plans. I know very little about who is aligning with who. I try and focus on the issues affecting my relatives in Mwansabombwe and how economic insights can help those ordained to lead our country move beyond the status quo.

    But I shall ask him and will communicate via this thread.

    In the future it would also be good if you chose another pseudo name rather than "anonymous". That way we can uniquely identify your comments.


All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.