MINISTER of Higher Education Michael Kaingu has called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Attorney General to meet the Zambia Qualification Authority Framework to synchronise and make sense of the clause on minimum qualification for candidates wishing to contest parliamentary, local government and executive mayoral elections.
Dr Kaingu said that it is unfortunate that ECZ is demanding Grade 12 qualifications from aspiring candidates and is overlooking their tertiary qualifications attained over the years.
He said there is need to know exactly what is required in demanding for the minimum qualifications as set in the clause for minimum qualifications.
Dr Kaingu said education is not cognitive and is not attained in a straight line as many can attain it in different ways such as through crafts, degree and PhDs.
“Even when we talk of cognitive knowledge – who is more developed in public knowledge, a grade 12 or a person who is holding a diploma,” Dr Kaingu said.
Dr Kaingu said the country’s education system has what is called Zambian Qualification Authority Framework which starts with the Examinations Council of Zambia as the number one qualifications followed by Technical Education, Vocational Training and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) and higher qualifications authority.
He said the qualifications are in levels from one to 10.
Level one is grade seven certificate, level two A is grade nine and level two B is grade 12 certificate. Levels from three to five are crafts certificates which are certificates from trade schools and other colleges.
Level six is a diploma, level seven is the first degree, level eight is post-diploma, level nine is master’s and level 10 is a PhD.
Dr Kaingu said the framework is clear that a person who has a crafts certificate is more qualified than one with a grade 12 certificate.
He said during his time, there were people who were admitted into university through mature age entry after just passing an aptitude test for their first degree.
And the minister has appealed to Examinations Council of Zambia to decentralise its service of verifying aspiring candidates’ qualifications other than having candidates travel to Lusaka.
“They cannot call all the people that are standing to Lusaka to have their papers verified, they are making us unnecessarily unpopular among the people,” Dr Kaingu said.