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‘FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL’, ‘FREE EDUCATION FOR THE POOR’ or OR WHAT?

Dear Editor,

CLARITY of thought or promise is very important.

One “thought” or promise that President Hakainde Hichilema has lamentably failed to be clear about, especially after assuming the office of President of the Republic, is the notion or promise of free education.

Lately, he appears to be shifting from the notion of “free education for all” to “free education for the poor.”

The tragedy for the expectant youth, parents and guardians, is that, there is no policy document that one can make reference to on the subject matter besides President Bally’s own verbal statements, and ambiguous tweets, which he has easily disowned or changed. For this reason, whenever he has a media engagement, the question of free education continues to haunt him.

If today I got him right, after I accessed his Radio Phoenix where he engaged the public, the narrative he is now pushing is that of direction of “free education for the poor.”

Is he really pushing a policy of free education for the poor or what? It would make lots of sense if President Bally is explicit and comes out clear on this. Cat and mouse politics from the Republican President is not good at all.

Nonetheless, what is most flabbergasting, in relation to free education, is that President Bally has not stated anything up to now on the existence of the Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Board.

Is he reverting the Board to its original status of Bursaries Committee or what?

If the answer is no, then what legal justification would there be for the Board that is mandated to education loans give out free funds? That would be a breach of the Act.

If the answer is yes, then how come the name was not changed before realigned portfolios were presented to Parliament for approval?

What justification is there for the Board that received funds approved by Parliament as loans hand out the funds for free? Will the Auditor General be content with this arrangement?

In short, without President Bally’s clarity of thought or policy direction, it may prove difficult for the Board to support students through the 2022 budget.

So, President Bally must now come out clear on this issue than later. Time is ticking.

PETER S

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