• The project has been funded through internally generated resources.
• It has been built from revenue realized through PPP between UNZA and Graduare Properties Limited.
• The Higher Education sector must respond to the changing dynamics in education.
President Edgar Lungu says government will continue supporting efforts by all public universities to ensure that they achieve financial sustainability.
Speaking when he commissioned a State of the Art Teaching and Learning Complex at the University of Zambia (UNZA) main campus, President Lungu stated that it is government’s desire to see to it that all public universities continue to operate in a financially sustainable manner.
The Head of State government further said government is encouraged by the efforts UNZA has been making to improve its internal revenue generation.
He added that he is delighted to note that the project has been constructed using internally generated revenue by the University through Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Graduare Property Development Zambia Limited.
President Lungu explained that the Partnership is an example of what government can achieve through partnership with the private sector, adding that the project is also a reflection of government’s success as it pursues policies and programs that impact positively on people’s lives.
“Let me; however, hasten to say there is still room for improvement in government’s endeavor to ensure PPPs are a success in Zambia. I, therefore, in this particular case, I urge all concerned line Ministers, in liaison with the Minister of Higher Education, to closely monitor this PPP project and seek continuous improvements to negotiations and collaborative agreements such as contracts.
”I am aware that the University of Zambia, just like the other public universities, has been facing serious challenges in providing adequate accommodation for its students. I wish to state that government has not slackened in its effort to complete construction of student’s accommodation at all the public universities,” President Lungu said.
He however directed management at the University to do an inventory on people residing in university accommodation to find out whether all of them are students or not and investigate whether all the monies paid by students for accommodation reach the university accounts.
“I have been made to make this call because I have received disturbing reports that while genuine students, especially first years, are grappling with accommodation, many of them living in private homes, there are some former students still occupying university accommodation. I also, have received reports that some students and even former students are renting out accommodation to students who have nowhere to stay. This cannot be allowed to continue. It must be stopped because it borders on criminality. Students are here to learn and not to become landlords.”
And President Lungu thanked all cooperating partners for their continued support to the education.
Speaking at the same event, on Acting Minister of General Education Dr. Dennis Wanchinga said the Ministry has identified congestion in classrooms as a potential super spreader of the virus, hence all universities have been directed to reduce the number of students in classes and laboratories and also contact time.
Dr. Wanchinga, who is General Education Minister, added that the Universities have also been directed to adopt the blending of physical classroom sessions with online learning as a delivery mode.
“The coming on stream of these two lecture theatres will benefit the University of Zambia in that it will increase the amount of time devoted to delivery of learning programmes as well as help in effective social distancing in compliance with one of the golden rules for the prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dr. Wanchinga said.
Meanwhile, UNZA Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba said the State of the Art facility has been constructed at a cost of K27 million realized from the partnership with Graduare Property Development Zambia Limited, with a cumulative sitting capacity of 700 students.
Professor Mumba disclosed that the facility houses two Ultra – modern lecture theatres, a board room, two computer laboratories, two tutorial rooms and twenty eight offices, among other installations.
“With this kind of infrastructure, we stand comparable with some of the best universities around the world today. We thank-you your Excellency for providing the leadership in higher education which has witnessed attainment of key infrastructure development projects in the sector country-wide. We consider it befitting that this outstanding achievement in the infrastructure development projects at the University of Zambia is commissioned by you our national leader,” he stated.