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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

UNZA Don calls for the privatization of UNZA

General News UNZA Don calls for the privatization of UNZA

A University of Zambia Lecturer has called for the privatization of the institution.

Dr Sam Phiri, a Lecturer in the School of Mass Communication says what was Zambia’s icon of independence and the source of vanity in 1966, is no more.

Dr Phiri says what remains is a drowsy institute which is in deep peripatetic torpor.

“Blotto in poverty, misery and self-pity. It’s a drab, dozy and blue ‘Centre of in-excellence’. We all know why this is so. Blame games won’t wash,” he lamented.

He charged that this mortally sick Centre of “Service and Excellence” is in its near-death thralls.

“It’s not ‘serving’ our country well. No ‘excellence’ in teaching; not much, not much… research takes place there either. We all know why this is so.”

Dr Phiri charged that the truth is, government cannot fully fund this bovine-like behemoth.

“There is no money for UNZA. Worse, for the baby public ‘universities’ statutorily created since 2011. Let’s be realistic.”

He suggested that the solution is in changing the political policy direction of UNZA.

“UNZA can be privatized. UNZA should be reformed, restructured and remodeled so that its aligned to the 21st Century,” he suggested.

He said every other facile attempt will not work.

“What is needed is not a mollifying exercise. What is needed is the radical transformation of UNZA. As it is, UNZA is a ‘stranger’ to the 21st Century.”

“Trying to tinker with funding models that suited the 1960s is a non-solution. It has merely concretized existing problems. This is not 1966. Zambia is poorer than it was in 1966. In fact, let’s just say it: Zambia is ‘broke’. It can’t afford to fund UNZA. Full Stop.”

“Worse, the many new public mini-universities, planted all over the place, un-thinkingly, un-planned and un-strategically. There is no conceivable academic logic to these new edifying mini-stars.”

“For a start, let’s re-examine the policy of mass education. Let’s re-look at the current policy’s denial of elitism for UNZA. This, in spite of an environment which is awash with mini-stars calling themselves universities. Many of them, hyped high schools but with a glorified legal status.”

He said, “Let UNZA be transmuted back into a Centre of Zambian Excellence in both teaching and research. Of course, excellence is directly linked to exclusivity, exceptionality, selectivity, distinctiveness and uniqueness.”

“After Zambia has taken the new policy stance, then let’s look at the Mulungushi University model. Is there anything we can learn from there?”

“If not, let’s seek for another model that will, at least, de-link and distance UNZA from government.”

“Look at this: Three weeks into the 2020 academic year, barely any lessons are taking place. Students, most of them teens, from the rurals, are milling about the unkempt and over grown campus grounds, and potholed roads. Momentarily, they listlessly peep through closed translucent doors into the decrepit lecture theatres. Wondering what could have been.”

“Today, I walked through the UNZA main campus, bemused and saddened to see that hardly any teaching was taking place. Three weeks into the new academic year, several lecture rooms were closed. The doors are shut.”

Why? No one knows, and yet everyone knows. No need to belabour the point. UNZA management has no sparring partner. No one to talk to. They de-recognised UNZALARU recently. Meanwhile, the institutional haste to the nethermost continues.”

“Should we seriously consider privatization? Of course, though not the Chiluba way,” he stated.

[Read 1,995 times, 4 reads today]


  1. Lol who do you think will invest in a country with an unstable and presumably corrupt country as been broadcast by our own selves to the outside world? We all know investment in education is a long term investment so who will take the risk. On top of that half the hoodlums you have taught come out believing in Seer1 nonsense witchcraft Juju. Just pray and scream to the heavens with Nevers for the government to turn around things now. You’re doomed. Sorry

  2. He must be hh’s boyfriend because to them the only solution is privatising our resources and assets for their own benefits. It is because of such behaviour that we are in such a predicament as a country. I am in russia and here the university are mainly state owned and are running ok. So how can we fail to run a simple university. The problem is that we have opposition exerting political influence on students and turning the university into a political playground. I think we need to close unza like we did CBU to clean it off politics. Cbu is now doing fine. Kz

  3. It is because intelligentsia or these lecturers are bad MANAGERS. ZCAS has run smoothly because they have put business minded managers to run the university. Fees are paid, GRZ grants are given, they test all the mineral water we drink in Zambia, they have huge properties, so what’s the problem?? Secondly, UNZA needs a security clean up-send in OP to flush out opposition politics!!

  4. @Cat Power: it’s logical why you choose to be a second class citizen in a foreign land, your attitude is bad!! How do you live with yourself with such negative energy on your back, man?? All you see is negativity?? Dr. Chihombori-Quao wrote, ” The most dangerous thing to Africa today is a colonised African.” Free your mind, brother.

  5. CatPower: Yes, Zambia has solutions to such problems. Just gather in churches and pray. And whn nothing happens after prayers, Zambians are not to blame because they would hv handed the problem to God.

  6. Our auditor general should report in his auditor report the following:
    1 How much does UNZA collect from students?
    2 How much does CBU collect from students?
    3 How much does Mulungushi University collect from students?
    4 How much does ZICAS University collect from students?

    Then for each University, what is the wage bill?
    For each University, what is the fees collected PER WORKER

    By the end of such analysis, everyone will know which institution is MISMANAGED

  7. Well said Dr Phiri. Tbe fact that you have identified the problem is a very good srarting point. Instead of just oversimplifying the solution as privatisation, as an academic yourself , I think you needed to present a more researched alternative. An alternative that points to the model of privatisation and examplea of where it was implimented successfully.

  8. Some of the teaching and research units at UNZA could operate in a sustainable manner. They are economically viable entities with minimal financial requirements from Government grants and loans. These include School of Mines, School of Agricultural Sciences, and School of Veterinary Sciences. The others are: School of Law and School of Media Technology. It does not mean that all existing problems will disappear overnight. Rather, it means that many of the existing problems will be over but new challenges will emerge. The new challenges would include sharp decline in enrollment figures due to lack of financial resources to pay for tuition and campus accommodation. There is nothing wrong with piloting some form of income in-house generation strategies. What is critical is approaching…

  9. There is nothing wrong with piloting some form of income in-house generation strategies. What is critical is approaching the new realities with open minds, with innovative minds and with technical know-how. In actual fact, UNZA needs to pay dividends directly to Government.

  10. Michael Chilufya Sata put it factually and vividly: “We have too many educated fools in our country!” This is what this great politician referred to, that’s why UNZA has continued to struggle.

  11. At the end of fiscal year 2016, the 120 institutions with the largest endowments accounted for $401 billion, or about three-fourths of the national total. The five institutions with the largest endowments in 2016 were Harvard University ($36 billion), Yale University ($25 billion), the University of Texas System ($24 billion), Stanford University ($22 billion), and Princeton University ($22 billion).

    UNZA is very profitable and valuable a public institution that can never be privatized it is more valued than other universities and can be better managed in the current student loans and bursaries like the SALIEMAEs

    Privatizations no

  12. Chioneka Mwatitika nayo competition mafella.
    Let’s cut the crap and enter the realistic gear 2. The competitive environment is not user friendly to some folks in the country and these are the fellows yapping like the doc in the article.
    Unza needs to benchmark on how other african universities are doing it.
    If in decision making positions you have fellows with old mentality, you as the institution are doomed.
    As competition bites find workable solutions.

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