The government says it is aware that barriers to education still exist for girls and young people despite the introduction of free education in the country.
Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary for Educational Services, Joe Kamoko, says long distance to schools, lack of boarding facilities and negative effects of climate change are some of the barriers faced by school-going girls.
Mr. Kamoko says education is a basic human right which should be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.
“I can assure you that we as a government are alive to these issues and will ensure that more schools are built to lessen distances and increase the number of hostels in rural areas,” he said.
Mr. Kamoko said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry of Education Director for Standards, James Chomba, during the official opening of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) annual general meeting in Lusaka today.
He has applauded the CAMFED Zambia for its work towards increasing access to education for girls and young people in rural areas.
“I also wish to thank and commend the CAMFED association members for the role they played to keep rural children, especially girls connected to education ideals at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. CAMFED association members continued to provide social support through mentorship to girls and other vulnerable children in communities,” he said.
He pointed out that the CAMFED-Zambia programme resonates with the government’s strategic development areas outlined in the Eighth National Development Plan 2022 -2026.
Mr. Kamoko announced that about 117 CAMFED association members were recruited by the government in the last teacher and health workers recruitment.
Meanwhile, CAMFED Zambia Board Chairperson, Enita Hamatumbika, said CAMFED Zambia remains committed to complementing the government’s efforts in addressing the exclusions that girls face in school and beyond.
Mrs. Hamatumbika has applauded the government for introducing the free education policy, which she says has greatly improved access to education for girls and young people, especially in rural areas.
She however noted that long distances to schools has continued to be a challenge for school going children in rural areas,
She has since appealed to the ministry to consider the plight of weekly boarders to help overcome this barrier.
The CAMFED Zambia AGM this year is being held under the theme, ‘celebrating 10 years of implementation of the International Day of the Girl, free education and increased reach of marginalised girls through empowerment of young women and improved community engagement’.