The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has described the year 2022 as fairly good for the education sector following a number of positive contributions to it.
NAQEZ Executive Director, Aaron Chansa stated that the year has been progressive and positive.
“After extensive analysis and serious consideration of the country’s education provision in the year, National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) is hereby declaring 2022 as a fairly good year for the education sector,” Mr Chansa said in a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
He said despite thousands of teachers complaining about lack of salary scale upgrades and acting for many years without confirmation in substantive positions, the education sector has experienced record-breaking developments in 2022.
He explained that one of the major milestones recorded this year is the recruitment of 30,496 new teachers to the education sector.
Mr Chansa said this was and still is important in the country’s struggle against high teacher-learner ratios which have badly obtained in public schools across the country for many years.
He observed that the reintroduction of free education up to Grade 12, though with negative effects on quality education, stands out to be one of the most forward-looking policies in the sector.
Mr Chansa noted that to respond to the national demands for a progressive school curriculum, 2022 has seen the Ministry of Education embark on curriculum review as part of government’s education reform process.
He explained that this will provide a golden opportunity for the country to craft for itself a curriculum that will speak to citizenry educational needs in Zambia and change the course of national development for the better, given the fact that education is a game changer.
“NAQEZ finds it befitting to pay tributes to the Republican President for his personal, passionate attachment to the education sector. He has several times pronounced himself very well on his desire to see a better system of education,” he said.
Mr Chansa added that President Hakainde Hichilema is committed to transforming the education sector to meet century dynamics and for all citizens to consume this public good.
He said it is elating that the President sees education as a social and economic equaliser for all.
He added that for tertiary education, NAQEZ has not witnessed upheavals in universities and colleges.
Mr Chansa noted that 2022 has also seen reintroduction of meal allowance for students at public universities, which he said is good for education and the country.
He also commended the Minister of Education and his team for providing good leadership on most of the great developments in the education sector.
He however reminded the Ministry of Education that the sector still has a monumental challenge of accommodation for teachers, especially in rural areas.
Mr Chansa said NAQEZ wants to see government build decent houses for the teachers like it has done for uniformed men and women in the country.
He observed that with free education in place, the Ministry of Education should procure more than 1.8 million desks before the end of 2023 in order to ensure that every learner sits on a desk.
“This undertaking will require expenditure of more than K2.5 billion. Concerted and collaborative efforts will have to be made by the Ministry of Education as lead duty bearer and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development,” Mr Chansa said.
He said there is need to make sure that curriculum reforms are legally supported and in tandem with the national policy framework.
Mr Chansa further said there will be urgent need in 2023 for the Ministry of Education to attend to the outdated National Policy on Education of 1996 and the Education Act.
He noted that for the sake of quality education, NAQEZ will in 2023 take keen interest in how the Ministry of Education will begin to expand classroom spaces in the year to decongest classes which are currently failing to accommodate learners well.