The pro poor stance of the Patriotic Front in the run up to the 2011 elections has identified the education sector as useful equilibrium in closing the barrier between the rich and the poor.
In the run up to the 2011 elections, PF had identified the formal and informal education and explored the options it can be utilized with the view to preserve the sector that had been limping. The primary task for the PF Government was to embark on transforming the education sector with the view to making it relevant to the economic development of the nation.
In the national budgeting and planning of yesteryears, the education sector was among the underfunded sectors and this encumbered on the service delivery. So far, the Patriotic Front Government under President Lungu has shown consistency in increasing resource allocation to the education sector. as of 20th May, 2021, data obtained from the Ministry of Education through Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame reveals that the investment in the education sector is yielding fruits and so far 14, 235 primary schools, 4, 690 secondary schools, 14 trade centers and 7 universities being built as well as the continued rehabilitation of the existing ones.
Besides creating opportunity for formal and informal education, the Government has priotised technical and vocational education as well as entrepreneurship in order to equip Zambians with survival skills. In the formal education sector, the Government has priotized specialized education and so far Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) schools of excellence have been established which have been decentralized to provinces and progressively to districts.
The PF has also provided for equal opportunity to both boys and girls living with disabilities and this has made education to be the key equalizer. With the increase in classroom infrastructure, the teaching profession has received a fair share of employment more primary and secondary teachers with the view to reducing the teacher, pupil ratio. Within the 2016-21 stretch, the Government has drastically reduced the fees that are payable in tuition fee and this has made education to be accessible to the lest privileged members of the society.
in order to make education responsive to modern day challenges, the Government has successfully undertaken a revision of the curricula, to ensure that agriculture, and mathematics are compulsory subjects in all schools.
At tertiary level the Government has introduced loans which are now accessible by all students in public Universities. In 2020, the Higher Education Students Loan Board (HESLB) has awarded 23, 016 beneficiaries. This has been as a result of the reforms that has taken place to make the student’s loan sustainable.
We are glad that President Lungu and his Running mate have shown unwavering commitment to introduce more reforms. At her tenure as Higher Education Minister during President Lungu’s first term, Prof Luo had been at the Centre of reforms in the education sector.
Marvin Chanda Mberi