Northern Province Health Director, Ernest Mutale has urged the ICOF Colleges Seminaries and Universities to ensure the selected students to pursue health related courses have proper qualifications.
Dr Mutale says that it is important his Ministry is in the know-how of how the vulnerable students will be identified for the programme.
Dr Mutale was speaking today at Samfya Kwacha Waterfront Lodge in Samfya District at the meeting where ICOF is scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chilubi School of Nursing College for the GRZ-ICOF sponsored programme in Health Science courses for vulnerable but viable youths.
“There are a number of gaps that we are not so clear about, especially the area of how these vulnerable youths will be identified as to do the course in nursing because there are certain standards they have to meet, especially Grade 12, we have to make sure that they meet the minimum required standard,” he said.
Dr. Mutale requested that when a list is generated for students to undertake the health science related courses the department needs to be aware of the selection criteria.
“Traditionally it has been a competition where those who are selected would be given some sort of test so that we choose the best candidate and the best candidate might not always be the vulnerable, so we need to know how the selection criteria will be,” he said.
And in response, ICOF Vice Chancellor Professor Charles Mwape disclosed that in terms of requirements for the targeted students in the health related programme, there is a joint faculty team that is responsible for admission.
“We have engaged the Nursing Council, HPCZ and followed guidelines and all the students that we have we made sure that we follow the basic minimum requirement and we know that without meeting the minimum requirements our students cannot be indexed by regulators,” he said.
Prof. Mwape noted that their approach is to provide empowerment through education.
“The programmes that we are implementing in Zambia, we are doing them in 16 other countries and last year alone we recruited more than 5000 students for our programmes in Zambia,” he said.
Prof. Mwape stated that so far they are picking one college in Northern Province hence the picking of Luapula Hub of Knowledge in Mansa District, Luapula Province and Chilubi School of Nursing Chilubi District in Northern Province to pursue the health related courses under the government sponsorship.
Meanwhile, Chilubi District Commissioner, Risto Mushembe thanked government for the free education policy where bursaries are also being offered.
Mr Mushembe noted that the goal of government is to ensure education is provided to every Zambian citizen.
“All those that cannot afford to sponsor themselves to school, government has provided free education and bursaries. Just as the President has said that education is the best equalizer,” he said.
Mr Mushembe said his district will be ready to partner with any partners that may come on board as their interest is to see the district develop and the living standards of people are lifted.
And Chifunabuli District Commissioner, Adam Banda noted that the institution, through the government bursaries, aims at giving more opportunities to the vulnerable and viable youths to pursue health related courses at Chilubi school of nursing and Luapula Hub of knowledge.