Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) President Edith Nawakwi has said that it is high time the country found a lasting solution to the challenges being faced by students in institutions of higher learning.
And the opposition leader has called on all students in the country to rally behind the FDD if they are to see an end to their challenges.
Speaking in an interview, Ms. Nawakwi said that the issue of students being chased from class due to non-payment of tuition or any other fees should be a concern to every parent regardless of their economic status.
She noted that parents should hence help in finding a solution.
Ms. Nawakwi who was commenting on reports that some diploma students at the Copperbelt University will not be allowed to write their final exams because they owe the university, said there is a better solution to the challenges being faced by students in the country.
She explained that poor leadership by those in government especially in the education sector is the reason why students find themselves in such situations.
The January 2015 Elections Presidential hopeful notes that learning institutions cannot continue sending students away when they have challenges in paying their fees but should instead devise mechanisms which would keep them in school.
She said that it was high time that the country put an end to the situation were students are being pushed away from classes against their will.
“The problem of students being chased from class because of non-payment of fees is a problem for all parents in the country. We cannot continue with a situation where students are being chased from class or indeed institutions as if they do not belong to this country.
The students who are doing diploma courses at CBU and other tertiary institutions are key to the development our country and it is a shame that we have failed as nation to come up with a lasting solution to this challenge either with loans or outright sponsorship to students in tertiary institutions especially those doing diplomas because they are equipped with technical work.” She states.
The FDD President also bemoaned the continued mishandling of the education sector by the Patriotic Front government saying the solution to the challenges with students is not to chase or brutalize them as has been the case since PF took office.
She has since advised management at CBU to allow the students who have not settled the outstanding fees write their exams but have their results withheld until their balances are cleared.
“One of the solutions is that they be allowed to sit for their and come to clear the balance later and the second option is that government moves in to pay behalf for the students.
As FDD, we are proposing a loan fund. We believe that a loan system is the only sustainable way of providing education to students in institutions of higher learning. With the decentralized way of governance that we intend to implement, students are assured of finding a job as soon as they complete the course and start repaying their loans.” Ms. Nawakwi said.
The opposition leader who is the only female candidate in the race plot one further said her party will formulate a loan scheme which will benefit all students in high learning institutions as opposed to the current system which is marred with corruption and only benefits a few students.
Meanwhile Ms. Nawakwi who today has won the hearts of many with her unique campaigns, called on the students in the country to jump on the wagon for change if there are to secure their future.
She said her party when elected will ensure that the education sector is well taken care of as it is one of the critical areas that will help speed up the development of the country.
“The PF government has shown no efforts or willingness to support the students hence we are ask them (students) to be calm as we find a solution to this long standing problem.” Adds Ms. Nawakwi.