JAPANESE ambassador to Zambia Kiyoshi Koinuma has advised universities in Zambia to ensure that they are politically neutral.
Mr Koinuma, speaking during the launch of the Hokkaido University Alumni Association at the Veterinary Department of the University of Zambia (UNZA) yesterday, expressed worry at the state of affairs at UNZA.
“I am worried about the state of the University of Zambia right now. I think universities should be kept politically neutral. In Japan, universities are kept very independent. I hope this problem will be dealt with as soon as possible,” he said.
And Mr Koinuma said he is determined to take student exchange programmes between Zambia and Japan to another level.
“I am determined to take this opportunity of enhancing academic exchanges between Zambia and Japan by focusing on the youth, who will carry the future of this country on their shoulders,” the Japanese ambassador said.
He expressed hope that the student exchange programme would strengthen relations between Zambia and Japan.
The ambassador said he was happy with the co-ordination of the exchange programme by Hokkaido University and UNZA.
“I would like to make special mention of Hokkaido University’s efforts at promoting study in Japan. The mission of the co-ordination is to increase the number of students from Zambia,” he said.
He said the initiative by the two universities is a significant step in promoting academic exchanges.
“The partnership by the two universities will contribute to human resource development in Zambia and Africa as a whole,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, UNZA dean of veterinary medicine Kennedy Choongo said the partnership between the two universities would enhance veterinary services in Zambia.
“Since the Zambian government’s request for technical co-operation from Japan, the school of veterinary medicine has developed in terms of animal health and production,” Dr Choongo said.
He said the partnership will improve health and welfare in Zambia, which will in turn enhance scientific innovation and public engagement.