Saturday, April 20, 2024

Zambia’s free education evokes a stalemate debate


The most celebrated United Party for National Development (UPND) achievement, free education, evokes a stalemate debate. It is very hard to tell which side is winning.

No Zambian is against free education. It is the most important point to keep in mind as one follows the debate.

While in opposition UPND promised free education from primary school to university. President Hakainde Hichilema has delivered free education from primary school to secondary school.

College and university education is not free yet, making the promise incomplete. However, that is not what is generating the debate. The debate is on quality education.

Free education has boosted enrolment in schools. Leading to overcrowding. Because there are not enough schools, some feel Hichilema’s free education does not point to quality education.

It is a varied point. Overcrowding means teachers are burning out. A tired teacher cannot deliver quality education.
Those in support of the current form of free education argue that better bad quality education than no education. They too, have a varied point.

A lot of children who left school because of a lack of support are back in school. They may not be getting a quality education, but at least are being educated.

Reflecting on the debate, aiming at quality education is not a bad idea. We live in a world of competition where quality education is a must as it prepares students for the competition.

On the other hand, quality education aligns with President Hichilema’s pronouncement that Zambia is in the Champions League. If it is, it needs quality education to stay in the league. Otherwise, will go nowhere in the league.
For quality education, Zambia needs more schools, more teachers, better school environments, and above all good government.

Zambia needs to make sure no child goes to school with an empty stomach. Free breakfast and lunch need to be introduced in lower primary schools. Later on, may be expanded to upper grades.

Free uniforms, textbooks, and other important needed school materials would be a plus. Children should not be just present in class but present and equipped.

Free education needs to be a complete package. Hichilema administration should start thinking about introducing free healthcare for students and teachers.

Please don’t misunderstand the author. He is not against UPND’s free education. Zambia needs free and quality education.

By Venus N Msyani


  1. Bwana, there is no debate and it is not every school that is over crowded . what good people are looking at is expansion where necessary . otherwise the article has wrong title

    • The author can’t see what is right in front of him. The Government has recognised what he is talking about and is doing something about it. Teachers are being recruited, classrooms are being built and desks are being bought in EVERY constituency. Over time, this shall result in the quality education he is talking about.

    • You ar very right. Continue being objective in the rest of your life. Clearly the author has other intentions for writing his article not really that he hs seen smthig wrong with free education .

  2. The article has failed express itself. We have to do with what we have. We need to build more schools and others expanded. There are still more Teachers unemployed.

  3. so embarrassing that the author could even think of writing such crap/feaces. big egos have blinded him from seeing how beneficial it is to say every child should be educated. now they have found an excuse in saying theres no quality education, was there quality education in pf? jealousy down bamambala, you are just embarrassed by hhs gesture, the pf dunderheads seems to have been beaten big time by how hhs actions are benefiting the nation while them pf was only concerned with stealing govt money.

  4. Zambia has remained a dwarf for so many years because of our mind sets. We accept mediocrity as long as it is different from what we condemned. When PF messed up and people voted them out of power it does not mean that the new Govt is doing everything right and that is the fools way of thinking. Some politicians have even shamelessly gone to the extent of saying the PF have no right to condemn the wrongs of UPND “my word”! We cannot sink this low surely. Let us debate issues with open minds. Quality is a question in the free education indeed and we must talk about it. We all know about it. We need to do things realistically.

  5. The benchmarks for excellent free education have been the USSR, Cuba and of course China. Cuban doctors are still very much sought after. The USSR trained Zambia’s engineers, medical and paramedical personnel to fantastic professionalism.Our army too. China was a big destination for our technical community. Emulating these countries is impossible for countries like Zambia that half-heartedly effect only certain socialist items. Like the writer states it should be a complete package.

    • The Free education in not only poorly resourced but pathetically planned Zambia is just lip-service because it wont compete with real quality education. The quality education will still be available but to the very wealthy so class divisions and oppression will be pepertuated. Show us how many cabinet and senior government appointees are utilising free education and you wont count them on one hand. Eventually foreign educated Zambians will be the preferred employees of local entrepreneurs. Yes, a bad quality education is dangerous because it fools its graduates that they have knowhow-when they dont.

  6. Come on one step at a time but it is still
    a good argument to have for the right reasons keep people on their toes. This question should always be asked for all government funded projects. Constructive criticism.

  7. You have to be a stupid adult to think the gov is your mother for them to provide you with free education at college level. Do you even have a working brain you people?

    • The reason why America is declining is exactly because of the stup1dity of people like you. Free education is not charity. Free education is an investment. There is a reason why China is the strongest economy in the world, it graduate 4.7 million engineers and scientists every year. The US which has the “biggest” economy graduates 567, 000, many of whom are Chinese and India at undergrad, and almost all of whom are Chinese and Indian at grad level…. Russia, whose economy is allegedly 1/20th that of the US graduates as many or more engineers than the US depending on the year, and you wonder why 50 Western countries, all of which put profit ahead of educating their youth, are losing the military and economic war to Russia.

  8. ……..

    Free education is a big hit……….

    Normal Zambians can see a working GRZ…..

    And they are still delusional to think HH will be voted out ???

  9. Dogs are those who voted for this useless party called upnd and their cow hh.

    Kaizer ,
    blogging from my beautiful home in ibex.

  10. The debate is only opions minus the input of educators who actually have to do the job. We need people with the experience to advise and guide and thats what lacks in our goverment structure we have good ideas that are not well thought out thus when implented dont save the intended purpose.

  11. I think there will always be a debate about quality education. The first question we need to ask is; what’s quality education? Have we defined or set standards that define quality education?
    It would have been good if this article defined quality education. You cannot evaluate or assess the quality of education without first providing the basis for measurement. I’m asking the question again, what are the variables or standard measure of quality education?

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