Friday, May 24, 2024

Kaunda Blamed UK for UNZA’s Inferior Degree

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Kaunda
KK with his famous white handkerchief

By Field Ruwe, EdD

PLEASE NOTE: I am an academic, not a politician, and do not envision myself as having a political career. This is a thoroughly researched piece of work, not an opinion editorial. You have to read the entire article to fully comprehend its content.

On July 12, 1966, Chancellor of the University of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, spoke: “I have to reiterate on this most important occasion what I have already said in the past, that as far as education is concerned, Britain’s colonial record is most criminal. This country has been left by her as the most uneducated and the most unprepared of Britain’s dependencies on the African continent. This record is even treasonable to mankind when it is recalled that in the seventy years of British occupation, Zambia has never lacked money, and, except for a year or two, her budget has never been subsidized by the British Treasury.”

The occasion was the official opening of the University of Zambia. The above quote was Kaunda’s scathing rebuke of Britain’s failure to develop a robust educational system in Northern Rhodesia. In January 1964, the then Prime Minister Kaunda had received the controversial 1963 Lockwood Report on the establishment of the University of Zambia.

In planning the establishment of the University of Zambia, the Lockwood Committee recommended that the proposed University of Zambia entrance requirements be a “lower level than was the norm in Africa” [see Report on the Development of a University in Northern Rhodesia, 1963]. This decision can be grandfathered into the University of Zambia’s degree deemed as inferior by the UK NARIC recognition agency.

It is imperative to keep a sense of historical perspective to fully understand where I am headed with this. Between 1890 and 1925, the absence of a defined educational policy in Northeastern Rhodesia and Northwestern Rhodesia, established under the British South African Company, was due to Cecil Rhodes’ opposition to educating natives. Consequently, Rhodes refused to create a budget for the education of indigenous people in the two territories. It was Rhodes who inserted words like “inferior,” “primitive,” and “backward,” in the “othering” language that white settlers perpetuated and Queen Victoria failed to condemn.

Upon the British government assuming control of the two regions and establishing Northern Rhodesia in 1925, the American Phelps-Stokes Commission was formed with the aim of developing an education system suitable for the local inhabitants. The commission advocated for the training of Northern Rhodesia’s indigenous population in skills like manual labor and craftsmanship, instead of establishing Western-type schools like was the case in other British territories in Africa. Similarly, the British implementation of the education system for indigenous inhabitants of Northern Rhodesia between 1925 and 1964 aimed to align with many of the proposals put forth by the Phelps-Stokes Commission.

Apparently, the Lockwood Committee chaired by Sir John Lockwood, former Vice Chancellor of London University, was aware of the Phelps-Stokes Commission’s recommendations. Conceived out of a conference on the Development of Higher Education in Central Africa, held in September 1962, at Antananarivo, Malagasy, the Lockwood Committee was tasked with the establishment of a university in Northern Rhodesia.

The then Minister of Local Government and Social Welfare, Kenneth Kaunda, was hoping the proposed Zambia University (University of Zambia) would replicate the educational models of Makerere University (Uganda), Dar-es-Salaam University (Tanzania), University of Nairobi (Kenya). These institutions like the others in the British colonies in Africa mirrored the higher education system of Great Britain and held affiliations with the University of London.

Between 1946 and 1970, the University of London engaged in collaborative efforts referred to as “schemes of special relations” with universities in the Commonwealth. Such institutions were conferred a royal charter which granted them specific privileges. The charter, signed by the Queen of England, enabled colonial universities to align with the University of London on matters such as student admission criteria, course content, examination procedures, and academic affairs.

Imbued in the British imperial doctrine of keeping the indigenous people of Northern Rhodesia at the bottom of the totem pole, Sir John Lockwood, a former Vice Chancellor of the London University, made no effort to enroll the University of Zambia into schemes of special relations with the University of London. Instead, the Lockwood Committee deviated from the British education model and made the University of Zambia autonomous, as opposed to a university benefiting from the British education system.

Kaunda was fully aware of this. After completing his studies at Munali Central Trade School in 1941, Kaunda acknowledged the importance of acquiring a British education. The British Department of Education had imposed the British system of education and their language on their colonies. As education began to occupy a prominent position in the consciousness of the indigenous inhabitants, the desire to learn English and attend British schools surged.

Bearing this in mind, Kaunda, who assumed office as republican president on October 24, 1964, was infuriated upon learning that the Lockwood Commission had excluded Zambia from the schemes of special relations. He became even more outraged when he discovered Zambia was the only country in the Commonwealth omitted. Dissatisfied with the Lockwood Report, Chancellor Kaunda contemplated the rationale behind the unjust treatment that Her Majesty’s most affluent African territory had endured in its educational history. He could not help but to suspect an element of racism in the decision-making process.

In the scholarly paper titled “Education in Zambia: Qualitative Expansion at the Expense of Qualitative Improvement,” J. Elliot sheds light on the intentional racist actions taken by colonial masters and white settlers in Northern Rhodesia to impede the educational advancement of indigenous people in Northern Rhodesia. According to Elliot, the underlying motivation was driven by self-interest and the desire to secure own employment and uphold a system that kept the native population uneducated and limited to menial jobs.

Elliot’s supposition was reflected in the Lockwood Report that set out to keep the indigenous people in an inferior status by recommending a University of Zambia of a lower caliber compared to other universities in the Commonwealth. The Lockwood Committee, in its recommendation, proposed that the University of Zambia should have admission criteria that were relatively lower compared to other African and colonial universities.

The committee provided a rationale for its decision by referencing the limited number of “A” level Form Six graduates and asserting that exclusively admitting them to the University of Zambia would restrict academic prospects. The committee further recommended that achieving a specific standard of performance in the “O” level of the G.C.E. examination should be the basis for admission into degree programs of the University of Zambia. This marked a stark departure from the usual practice in the Commonwealth of Nations, in which university admission typically necessitated “A” levels.

On independence day, the Kaunda government encountered a significant dearth of human resources, as there were only one thousand indigenous Zambians possessing school certificates and a mere one hundred university graduates who had schooled abroad. With this, Kaunda, in need of rapid acceleration, failed to condemn and challenge the recommendations of the Lockwood Committee. In 1965, Kaunda went ahead and commissioned the building of the University of Zambia on Great East Road as recommended by the Commission.

The following year, the University of Zambia admitted 233 degree students, with the highest degree available at the time being a Bachelor’s. Among the total student population, 204 students with “O” levels were required to take a year of “A” levels, while the remaining 29 students who already had “A” levels were able to enter directly into the second year of studies. As a result, the first cohort of degree students completed a two-year program and earned a comprehensive four-year degree upon graduation, while “A” level students took three years to complete their studies.

In 1967, the University of Zambia provided equal opportunities for degree examinations to external candidates, without any distinction in the qualifications obtained. The imposition of this proposal, supposedly in response to the Zambian government’s request for skilled labor, ultimately led to a further reduction in quality standards. Furthermore, standards were diminished when the Committee suggested the introduction of correspondence studies.

The historical context outlined in this article reveals that UNZA was established not with the intention of conforming to global standard, but rather to addressing the specific requirements of Zambia. Consequently, the university continues to struggle to achieve its intended roles as a prestigious educational institution, a repository of knowledge, and a hub of innovative research.

As long as the University of Zambia maintains its status quo, the UK NARIC evaluation that has bedeviled the UNZA graduate and degraded his/her degree to an inferior diploma level will maintain the stigma.

The most serious obstacle to the growth of the university is its reluctance to jettison the Lockwood recommendations and embrace a universally accepted dynamic ecosystem that spurs sound and relevant academic programs. It is the opinion of this author that the university should no longer draw its inspiration from the local environment but from those universities around the world that have created educational systems that yield positive outcomes.

The rights to this article belong to ZDI (Zambia Development Institute), a proposed US-based Zambian think tank. On May 19, 2022, a comprehensive proposal was delivered to President Hichilema through Principal Private Secretary Bradford Machila. Author Dr. Field Ruwe holds a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. He is affiliated with Northeastern University, Boston, MA, US.

56 COMMENTS

    • UNZA has produced great minds that have contributed to the industry in Zambia, in the region and the world over.
      In the mining industry, UNZA graduates are running mines in Australia, South Africa, Botswana , Congo and more.
      We have professors, Doctors , lawyers and many other professionals who are products of UNZA. UNZA has produced bank governor(Fundanga), top economists(Hakainde),Top lawyers(Eric), Professor Luchembe in the USA. Top judges, Engineers, Scientists etc.
      This field Ruwe must have failed to secure a place at UNZA….no wonder he has sour grapes.

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    • There are a number of inaccuracies in Ruwe’s write-up. Zambia was not the only country among former British colonies that had no university. Makerere University started life as University College of East Africa at Makerere and its catchment area was all the three British colonies in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). That meant that there was no tertiary education institution in Kenya and Tanzania. Similarly, Malawi and Zambia had no universities during colonial rule as they were catered for by the University of Rhodesia & Nyasaland whose federation they were both parts of.

    • Read the article carefully. What Dr. Ruwe is saying in a nutshell is that whereas Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania universities were supported by the University of London in their growth, UNZA was left to its own devices. Western education growth was needed at the time. You responding to the insults in the above comment takes away your moral campus.

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    • @ Mugabe. 58 years independence we have fools like you who think Zambia has produced brilliant minds. Where are they? You are praising Zambians abroad who have contributed nothing to Zambia. You are praising local intelligentsia that is grappling with the economy and has been doing so this independence. How narrow-minded can you get? Look at the mines? Look at the infrastructure. Who is running them? You lazy sloth. If you are a UNZA administrator wake up. Revamp you inferior institution.

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  1. There is an emeritus professor Chondoka in the US. An ex Unza graduate. He does not post such vitriol against unza. But this Ruwe, blames colonialism, late KK and everyone else. Well come and start your own university.

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  2. It is very clear that this obsession with the degree from Unza is no longer research but a quest to something only known to the author. Please be advised that until 1981 the requisite entry to Unza was the GCE exam which was prepared in the UK by Cambridge. The author failed that exam asking him to display his certificate

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    • It is in the character of many Zambians to rip into someone who has prospered. Here is a debatable problem that should be given a forum and all I see are attacks on the author. Greed, envy, sloth, and gluttony are vices no more than the tool of those who are intellectually deficient.

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    • Field Ruwe passed GCE with a Division 2. He might have missed the cut. But I know he did pass because he was my classmate.

  3. What’s the purpose of education? I’ve noticed an obsession for British qualifications. Tanzania abandoned that long ago and they speak Swahili. Their GDP is around US75BN while we that quarrel and insult each other in good English ours GDP has remained a paltry US26BN. It’s an indication that our education isn’t working for us, despite sending many citizens to Britain to get their education. We can copy what’s good from them as we develop what will work for us. That’s what matters

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    • GDP my dear Ayatollah is strongly correlated with population size. Tanzania’s population is more than twice the number of Zambians. That means that Tanzania has to produce more food to feed that population than Zambia. What really matters is income per head.

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    • Yes,Gunner in Zambia. Educate our poor Ayatollah about Purchasing Power Parity.Zambia’s (GDP)PPP was$ 836Bn and Tanzania was $ 227,275 .But Zambia’s PPP Per capita was $4,069 while Tanzania was $3,595.

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  4. KK wasted our resources on liberating ungrateful neighbouring countries in southern africa. Those millions of dollars wasted could have greatly developed our country. Those countries aren’t even recognising and appreciating the sacrifice we made for their freedoms.

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    • Agree with you. We bitterly sacrificed for South Africa (ANC), Namibia (SWAPO) and Zimbabwe (Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU), even to the extent of giving ANC cadres free education at UNZA. Now they burn foreigners alive in South Africa. They are so ignorant that some do not even know why they have Lusaka sections in townships like Mamelodi in Pretoria and Khayelithsa in Cape Town.

  5. This guy is still bashing UNZA? What did the institution do against him? Is it an inferiority complex? When I was at UNZA, my whole department was supported by the Dutch govt. We had dutch lecturers. So to attack my education one has to go against the education system in that country. In the same way, if one says Veterinarians trained at UNZA are substandard, then you have to say that Japanese medicine is inferior! I just can not understand this guy that claims to be a pHD and yet is deluded. He should stop talking down on UNZA and Zambians.

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    • He even says he gave president HH his report. What purpose will it serve. I don’t understand why he continues to research on a none issue. What has his research added to the body of knowledge. I think he deserves the bashing that is being cast at him.

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  6. I am left amazed with this man…when KK spoke about the education system designed by the colonialists Unza was yet to be built. What he meant was that the educational system pre-independence was designed to disadvantage natives…fast forward KKs vision for having a first class university such as Unza was designed to equip natives who had the intellectual capacity to obtain a certificate called a degree. And many did…the catch was how would one enter the University? Ruwe failed the entrance exam and took to telling dry jokes and singing albeit something similar at cabaret shows to earn a keep yet deep down he admired those fellows from unza….he is a form five drop out….

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    • What I like about Field Ruwe is he has educated himself to the highest level. This you can tell from the way he writes. I bet most of you attacking him are not at the level he has has attained. It hurts you to see him write the way he does. Why don’t you provide a rebuttal in this Lusaka Times instead of hiding behind the computer?

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    • @Pluto. That’s what we Bazungus do. When a pertinent issue is raised, our scholars appear on cable TV to discuss in a panel. They provide facts for and against. Dr. Ruwe took time to research and gave Kaunda’s reaction to the Lockwood Report. No one here seems to have read it. Why? because some can’t; others, it is beyond them. So, what do the do? Attack, attack, to kill the story. After they have, they continue to wallow in ignorance. Zambia wake up!!!!

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  7. I’m concerned about the author’s obsession with UNZA’s alleged poor showing. I have had opportunity to be in a number of universities in various parts of the world as student and lecturer. Every university has some areas where they could improve. UNZA is no exception and they should refocus on delivering to the immediate and long term needs of the nation. However, the author should tell us about his own academic history otherwise he risks being viewed as having an agenda to keep Zambia perpetually dependent on other nations. If you don’t respect what you have, don’t expect others to respect you. Even the very people setting you on that path self-destruction will not respect you. Let’s be constructive.

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    • The West attack the message. Zambians attack the messenger. That’s the difference between Day and Night. Envy is the religion of Africans. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls because they believe these to be virtues.

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    • Thank you Muzungu for this. We Zambians consume each other like hyenas, each one of us looks for a way to stop the other…to kill in fact. Why do you think witchcraft is so rampant. It is in the genes of some the people attacking the author here. It a dog-eat-dog, we lose our humanity and go for the kill. Look around us. He have done nothing in our name. The reason why, is in the comments here.

    • Correction: In a dog-eat-dog we lose our humanity and go for the kill. We have done nothing in our name. The reason why, is in the comments here.

  8. It’s a pity Dr Kaunda is not alive to defend himself. Bottom line is that he gave us a university under very trying conditions just like parents in shanty compounds do to their children…. send them to school even though the father has been to no school… it’s up to the child to make it work….as as the father pays for the education.

    • Ruwe is not attacking Kaunda, to the contrary. He is saying Kaunda wanted the same treatment as others in the Commonwealth who were benefitting from the British education system of that time. There is no need for him to defend himself, to comment on the article yes, but not to defend himself. Also read the last paragraph. He means well.

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    • @ Luke the Rapper. There’s nowhere where I have said Professor Ruwe has attacked Dr Kaunda. The headline says KAUNDA ACCUSED FOR…..it can be an accusation or a statement…in both cases one can defend themselves. Like someone above has mentioned, we Zambians act out of unrealistic emotions. You want to defend Dr Ruwe without getting the right context of a post?

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    • @ Deja Vu. You have misread the headline. It reads: Kaunda Blamed UK for UNZA Inferior Degree and NOT Kaunda Accused of… You did so because you concentrated on finding faults it him.

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    • @Bauze; Which headline in itself is a lie. Like some have pointed out, Kaunda never said the UNZA degree was inferior. How could he when that quote is got from before Zambia had any degree?

  9. These academic degrees really get to our heads. In hindsight, what have we achieved as degree holders? Africa remains undeveloped because we invest more time and energy in these papers while Africa is regressing. We have talented and skilled Africans who can seriously contribute to developing Africa, yet we all aspire to obtain these seemingly useless degrees. Did Germany, the USA, and the entire Europe rely solely on degreed individuals for development? Let us open our eyes, Africans. Let’s all get our hands dirty and build our continent. God gave us brains to think; we can develop Africa without these degrees that have consumed us so much. Just saying……..

    • Thinkers like Pluto helped to build nations because even in their time they ran schools. Yes Zambians think inside the box. To think outside the box you first have to learn. Education’s purpose is to replace your empty head with ideas. It is from educated ideas that we can build a nation. Degrees are essential to this endeavor. Zambia is full of Form 5s. They have not moved the nation an inch. You remove degrees and you have a totally ignorant people. If you don’t have a degree, get one!

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  10. Div 2 never got you into Unza you needed Div 1 … oh yes no one says Field has not improved himself … he must be content … we don’t envy him we happy for him … but he never made it to Unza to be accorded the inferior degree

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    • It was Division 1 and 2 of the COSC (Cambridge Overseas School Certificate) that got you an entrance. Some few courses allowed Division 3. I got a Division 3 and was rejected in natural Sciences but I went back to school and succesfully resat my O levels and got accepted

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    • @Mumba How old are you? Division two was good enough to get you into unza at a certain cutoff. It became ” useless” with time just like division one has become if you get more than six points.

    • Everything has a value attached. But that value normally diminishes with time or is affected by the theory of demand and supply. The trick is to keep replenishing it. Thats why Division one of 1968 cant be compared with Division one of 2024. I remember the Supaloaf was very nutrious at 12 Ngwee. No loaf costs that little now and the quality isnt the same

  11. No Mark you are wrong. Division 2 got a lot into UNZA. In my class only two got Division I. Four who had Division 2 admitted. It is accepted.

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  12. I like the saying “an empty tin makes more noise.” Those who are pouring insults and personal attacks have nothing to offer. They are the reason Zambia has produced nothing, neither a loaf of bread nor a table; not a pin or a wheel. They are sleeping on a bed they never invented. They are praising the city of Lusaka they never built–bridges, roads, nothing. Europeans and Chinese came to their rescue. Zambians inability to create value, this total inferiority, makes them jealous, vengeful, insolent and a menace to life and limb.

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  13. The article has a wrong headline and I wonder whether its Ruwe trying to be crafty or the editor’s own wrong grasp of this on-going dialectic. “Kaunda Blamed UK for UNZA’s Inferior Degree” implies KK is agreeing with Ruwe’s previous assertion that UNZA’s degree was inferior. Inferior because the UK’s NACRI said so. KK’s statement cant endorse Ruwe/NACRI’s opinion as it was issued 60 years ago. Correct or incorrect, NACRI is talking about current UNZA standards. KK was wholesomely referring to the coloniser’s educational policy(Zambia had no UNZA then) leading up to 1964.
    KK then worked on these “anormalies” and his UNZA started competing internationally. Seemingly Ruwe doesnt know that all colonisers had the same policy of inferior education for the natives.

    • The British had presided over “Bantu education” in South Africa, the Portuguese didn’t educate the Angolans and Mozambicans. The Germans also ignored ethnic Namibians and Tanzanians. Botswana, Kenya and Uganda natives did not study on the white man’s curriculum.
      I sense in Mr Ruwe a longing for UK or European education especially induced I believe by the newly acquired taste of Western education. The UNZA graduate will remind you of how colonial and even post colonial education can brainwash you into thinking only anything-including education-supervised by the whites has quality. Neo-colonialism dictates in most of us right now.

    • UNZA’s first and second year of study usually UNBRAINWASHES you so deeply you start wondering why you’re named Field instead of Towani or Mwizenge. I advise Ruwe to study the history of Japanese, Korean, Chinese education which were not carbon copies of Western institutions and he will realise education ought to be dictated by the environment. The environment around the educational system-not the colonialist in London. Education should provide the answers to a nation’s problems. It is not, like most of us think,meant to decorate our epaulettes so as to intimidate or impress society.
      There is no “universally accepted dynamic ecosystem that spurs sound and relevant academic programs” That is just the urge of pro-Western civilisation academics to dictate their cultures to us.

  14. While UNZA remains a very credible institution, we waste productive time putting up stiff defence. Let us move on, Zambia needs productive actors.

  15. KK wasn’t perfect and he wasn’t a monster either. Given our nationhood was still in infancy and KK focused on independence it would be very unfair to judge him harshly on this front. Tis like expecting a goalkeeper to play a center back position perfectly.

  16. indeed ‘you went back’ and improved your O Levels to get admission…..I wonder why your classmate (who according to you got a Div 2 as did another classmate) did not enter Unza… i can only assume that even at that time he realised how poor the uNZA degree was…the think abut online blogging is that one can have conversations with themselves by pretending to be different people to support an invalid position. Div 2 saw you off to college Div 3 saw you off to Trade Schools…

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  17. How can an UNZA medical degree be inferior to that in the UK, when A levels are taken in the first and second years and the Medical degree course commences after undergraduate dgree in Human Biology, or any other? It used to take 7 years from O-levels to get a medical degree at UNZA just like in the UK.

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