Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo is disappointed with lecturers at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) for allegedly destroying the fabric of education in the country through work stoppages. Speaking during the Zambia Catholic University seventh graduation ceremony on Saturday, Professor Luo said lecturers at the two institutions have the tendency of withdrawing their labour without following the laid down procedure.
Prof Luo wondered why UNZA lecturers decided to go on an illegal work stoppage last week to the detriment of the students and smooth operation of the institution. She said it was also unacceptable for CBU lecturers to resort to threats of withholding students’ results and trying to hold everyone at ransom over their alleged differences with vice-chancellor Naison Ngoma.
“Government is unhappy with the behaviour of lecturers and we need to find a way of dealing with these people. If I had the power, some of these people would be history,” she said.
Prof Luo said union statutes do not have a provision that allows unionised staff to fire other members of staff. She said Government did not employ lecturers to destroy the fabric of the education sector-and that the bad behaviour exhibited by students at the two higher learning institutions was because lecturers have failed to be good examples.
“If lecturers are the ones going to be wearing black T-shirts on Fridays, what signal are they sending to the students? They are responsible for some of these challenges in the universities,” she said. And Prof Luo said Government will soon make the student loan scheme accessible to students from other higher learning institutions and that UNZA and CBU students will have to compete for the scholarships just like the rest.
She said UNZA and CBU students feel entitled to the scholarships that Government gives deserving beneficiaries and have become insolent and abusive. Prof Luo said it is sad that over the years, the country had been churning out schooled but not educated people because of lack of adherence to values expected from educated people.
And Zambia Catholic University vice-chancellor Patrick Chilambwe said the university will endeavour to offer a humanising kind of education that gives students deep-rooted attitudes and vocations. Father Chilambwe said while the country needs more universities to address human resource challenges, there is need to ensure that quality is guaranteed.