The 81 Member Organizations of the Zambia National Educational Coalition (ZANEC) has expressed their disappointment over the continued neglect of the education sector by the government.
In a statement made available to ZANIS, ZANEC Executive Director George Hamusunga said the neglect by government has been demonstrated by the Ministers of Finance since 2016 by continuously reducing the budgetary allocation to the education and skills sector.
Mr. Hamusungu stated that the last four Ministers of Finance have collectively reduced the share of the education budget from 20.2% in 2015 to the recently announced 11.5% for 2021, representing a 46.3% reduction in the last five years.
He added that the Coalition observes that the K13.8 billion allocation is lower than last year’s budget when one considers the sharp rise in the inflation rate in the last year.
The Director further added that by neglecting education, the four Ministers of Finance have championed the deteriorating education standards in the education system.
Mr Hamusungu noted that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the long closure of schools, it was the Coalition’s expectation that the budget would plan to address the repercussions of the closure.
“The failure for the 2021 Education and Skills Sector budget to allocate enough resources to remediate the loss of learning during the COVID 19 period demonstrates the government’s lack of political will to mitigate the looming education quality crisis,” he said.
“ZANEC further hopes that government will prioritize the disbursement of the K2.3 billion allocated to social cash transfer to vulnerable households with learners who have difficulties to pay school fees to mitigate the impact of COVID-19,” he said.
He said the Coalition has observed that the current budget highlights missed the opportunity for transforming the education system which is currently experiencing a quality crisis.
He explained that the budget has failed to provide the required financing for the education and skills sector to achieve most of the targets provided for in the 7th National Development Plan, vision 2030 and the Education and Skills Sector Plan.