“ENHANCING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT”
By Hon Davies Mwila
The Vision 2030 objective is that Zambia should become “a prosperous middle-income nation” by 2030.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned strategic objective, Zambia needs to continue _“investing in people through education and training, to ensure job creation and socioeconomic transformation”._
Furthermore, the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which is the country’s blue-print for development towards the attainment of the objectives of 2030 emphasises: _“improved education and skills development are instrumental in creating societies that are better able to respond to social and economic development challenges they face.”_
Consequently, the PF Government under President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is implementing the following programmes to enhance human development, and achieve the abovementioned Vision 2030.
ENHANCING ACCESS TO QUALITY, EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
In line with the 7NDP, the PF Government is making significant progress in infrastructure development; teacher training, recruitment and deployment improvement; equity and inclusive education enhancement; youth and adult literacy expansion and improvement; and policy coordination, planning and information management improvement.
For example, during his address to Parliament on 14th September, 2018, His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, revealed that:
“Through the girl’s education and women’s empowerment and livelihood project, government is supporting vulnerable women and girls. In 2017, 12,445 vulnerable women in 11 districts were empowered with life and business skills as well as provided with grants of k2,000 each. By the end of this year (2018), an additional 21,000 women in 31 districts will be supported.
Further, government is supporting 15,082 girls aged between 14 and 18 years to be retained in school. (The PF) Government is equally committed to the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. In this regard, we have continued to mainstream disability in all our programmes. For instance, we are promoting the inclusion of sign language and braille in our various institutions, expanded use of ramps and elevators in public buildings…. I, therefore, call upon the private sector, faith-based organizations and the civil society to also mainstream disability in all their programmes.”
Clearly, the PF Government by implementing the 7NDP programmes is on course to actualise Zambia’s Vision 2030 objective, through developing quality human capital, arising from investments in quality education and skills development.
ENHANCING ACCESS TO SKILLS TRAINING
The PF Government under President Lungu is also implementing various 7NDP strategies aimed at enhancing access to skills training.
In this regard, His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, highlighted the following during his speech to Parliament on 30th September, 2016:
“Human capital development is key for any country to make lasting progress. Zambia is no exception. In addressing human capital development, government will continue to focus on skills development, science, technology and innovation.
In the area of skills development, government will continue to invest in technical and vocational skills that promote self- employment, particularly among the youth. This will enable youths to fully and effectively participate in the economy.
My administration will, therefore, continue with its robust infrastructure development programme for skills development in order to have at least one skills training centre in each district.
_We must deliberately target those who have been to school and those who have not been. No one must be left behind. We must develop a policy to revive apprenticeship training and strengthen internship.”_
With the resolve emphasized by President Lungu above, the PF Government continues to implement various 7NDP strategies such as: secondary school vocational education and training; institution-based learning; open, distance and flexible learning; workplace/on-the-job training; and so on.
Additionally, the 7NDP also states: _“to ensure that learners from poor households access skills training, the Government will establish a vocational skills bursary scheme.”_
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with regard to bursary scheme issued the following remarks during his address to parliament on 14th September, 2018:
“Government has continued to provide loans and scholarships to learners at all levels of our education system. In 2017, a total of 25,128 university and TEVET students were supported under the loans and scholarships board, the TEVET bursary, the skills development fund and the support to science and technology project.”
The PF Government is also implementing other 7NDP programmes such as the establishment Centres Of Excellence; Trades Training Institutions Operationalization; Training Institutions Rehabilitation and Construction; Alternative Training Mode Promotion; Continuing Professional Development; and Inclusive Vocational Training Promotion.
ENHANCING PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION
The PF Government is cognizant of the fact that public resources in any nation are always limited and therefore, Government cannot single handedly attain its goals without the support of the private sector and other stakeholders, through public-private partnership models and other beneficial models aimed at promoting education quality, relevance and access to every Zambian.
In order to enhance private sector participation in the education sector, the PF Government is providing a conducive environment for private sector participation, while ensuring continuous improvement of education standards and compliance to guidelines by all private sector participants. To achieve this, President Lungu’s administration is implementing various programmes, including: private sector education participation promotion programme; private sector skills development participation promotion programme; private sector youth and adult education participation promotion programme; and the PPP skills development fund implementation programme.
CONTINUOUS REVIEW OF CURRICULUM
In order to enhance curricula relevance for the labour market and ensure global competitiveness of Zambia’s education, the PF Government – in line with the 7NDP – is currently collaborating with various stakeholders to ensure continuous revision of curricula, by implementing effectively the following 7NDP programmes: Curriculum And Materials Development; Pre-Service And In-Service Teacher Training Provision; Curriculum Assessment And Evaluation Enhancement; Standards Monitoring Enhancement; Curriculum Framework Standardization; And Training Equipment Provision.
During his address to parliament on 14th September 2018, President Lungu, revealed the following:
“The Skills Development Fund has been instrumental in financing the review of over 79 curricula in the last year (2017) to align them to industry and the national diversification agenda.”
ENHANCING THE ROLE OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
The PF Government is enhancing the role of science, technology and innovation in order to promote productivity, innovation and competitiveness in the Zambian economy, as well as driving the creation of new products and new ways of producing existing products efficiently.
To this end, various 7NDP prescribed programmes, including, the science and technology human capital development programme; science and technology infrastructure development programme; and science, technology and innovation (STI) financing programme, etc. are being implemented.
The PF Government under President Edgar Lungu remains resolute in enhancing the role of science, technology and innovation to enhance human development, as a means of achieving the Vision 2030 objective.
The evidence of PF Government’s unyielding commitment to the abovementioned goal can be gleaned briefly from President Edgar Lungu’s speech to Parliament on 14th September, 2018, where he revealed, among other things, that:
“In the area of science and technology, we (the PF Governemnt) are making progress towards the establishment of the Centre For Nuclear Science and Technology. This centre is not a nuclear power plant but a centre for research in nuclear science and technology. Once operational, the centre will contribute towards enhanced treatment of cancer, irradiation of certain agricultural and mineral products for export as well as other industrial uses. This will also create a centre of excellence which will contribute to academic tourism as well as create jobs.
In this regard, the centre will contribute towards improved revenues realised from exports and make Zambia a nuclear science regional hub. To facilitate the seamless running of the centre by Zambians, a number of young Zambians are already undergoing training in nuclear science and research. This effort is part of our agenda to achieve a smart Zambia as we move towards attaining vision 2030.”
The most important resource in the development of any country is human capital. Accordingly, the PF Government is currently improving education and skills development to enhance human development, and by so doing, accelerate the transformation of Zambia into _“a prosperous middle-income nation”_ by 2030.
The next article will illustrate how the PF Government is enhancing human development by improving access to water supply and sanitation, as a way of accelerating the achievement of the Vision 2030 objective.
The Author is Patriotic Front Secretary General