Education is a top priority for the UPND and its one of the areas in which we are most ambitious when it comes to our plans. Being ambitious does not mean that our goals are not achievable, however.
No nation in the world can advance without investing in its people. Furthermore, education is the best equaliser; in other words education is an enabler, it enables the one who benefits from education to advance themselves. As a country that is struggling to realise its economic potential and continues to be plagued by inequality there are few things we should be more concerned with than opening up good quality education to all our citizens, regardless of gender, tribe or family income.
Let me be clear on what the UPND’s pledge is on education. We want to provide access to quality education for each and every Zambian child. In government we will ensure that those children coming from families that cannot afford the fees are able to meet them through the means of bursaries or other financing mechanisms. In other words, money should not be a deterrent for someone who wants to pursue education in this country.
We will invest until every child is in school, and let us be clear that education is an investment, not only for the individual, but also for the family, the community and the nation at large.
How will the UPND fund such a programme? Firstly, the UPND will cut the waste at the heart of government and use the money saved to invest in our people. Secondly, we will cut waste and the heart of government and invest the savings in education. People say there is no money for education but we say that currently we pay salaries for over 71 ministers, we pay for presidential delegations to fly all over the world, and the wastage at bodies such as FRA is through the roof. Fighting corruption will also be important. In a UPND government there will be no sacred cows. We need to recover those misappropriated funds to channel into our education sector. Just cutting that cabinet by half saves us over five hundred million kwacha (500 million) from salaries alone, which can pay for over 10,000 university students.
Every child must have the opportunity, regardless of gender, tribe or family income to access a good education and we will not rest until that is the case. This is the foundation of a productive, prosperous and cohesive society.