The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) says the country has over 80, 000 children of school going age out of school despite tremendous efforts that the donor community has put in to ensure every child in Zambia is in school.
Geoffrey Simfukwe, vice Chairperson for ZANEC attributes this on government’s failure to streamline mechanisms of ensuring that every child is in school ,despite having attained Millennium Development Goal number 8 on the Attainment of Universal Education back in 2015.
Mr Sinful we said he was hopeful that with the launch of the 7TH National Development Plan 7NDP way back in June, 2017, there was hope that the gap of pupils who are out of school and those who are still in school will reduce drastically.
“It is hopped that with the 7NDP successfully launched and in full swing, Zambia is likely to make tremendous gains in reducing the number of children who are out of school due to various challenges such as lack of adequate school spaces, lack of teachers in various schools especially far flung areas as well as long distances to schools in some rural areas,”
“As ZANEC, we have a role to play in ensuring that there is education for all. We realize that, with well over 80, 000 children out of school, it’s our ultimate goal that our country’s education system enables inclusiveness by helping to reduce the high school drop out rates which is a result of high poverty levels in the country, ” said Simfukwe
Speaking during the same event, which was 2017 Education and Skills Exhibition for the Commemoration of the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) held at Lusaka’s East Park Mall, under the theme: “Accountability for Sustainable Goals (SDG4) and Citizen Participation” Higher Education Minister Prof Nkandu Luo said in a speech read by Human Resources Director, Peggy Chirwa that the Ministry, through the help of the United Nations (UN) is committed to the achievement of the sustainable development agenda by 2030.
“The sustainable development agenda which our ministry is aimed at achieving is universal, inclusive and indivisible, the agenda calls for action by all countries, communities, institutions and individuals to improve the lives of the people everywhere,”
“It’s in view of the above target and prospect that the Ministry of Higher Education is working towards ensuring that every Zambian is given an opportunity to access higher education,” she said.
Prof. Luo was also quick to mention that the Ministry of Higher Education has continued to be faced with numerous challenges in providing long life learning for it’s citizens.
She also stated that some of the major challenges being faced were inadequate space in higher learning institutions etc.
“Some of the major challenges being faced by the ministry are in the shortage of space in institutions of higher learning to be able to absorb the school leavers each year. In 2015 for example, only 6 per cent of leavers were absorbed in higher education institutions of learning leaving out a bigger percentage of school leavers, ”
“The other issue that can’t be over emphasized is the issue of inadequate school loans, including the vulnerable yet viable students, lack of learning and materials for skills development especially for the TEVET institutions as well as the serious lack of student accommodation and the general state of boarding facilities for the public colleges and universities in the country, ” she noted.
The Global Action Week for Education is a major annual event spearheaded by the Global Campaign for Education and it’s member national coalitions. In Zambia, the Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC ) coordinate and spearhead this event in collaboration with the ministry of Higher Education.