• Government must remove economic barriers by providing loans and scholarships at high school as well as tertiary level.
• Free education is not very practical.
• It entails that, government starts to fund all private schools, all public schools, and public universities.
Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) says it expects the new government to remove economic barriers to education by providing loans and scholarships in the short term.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, ZANEC Executive Director George Hamusunga said government should consider providing scholarships at high school as well as tertiary level so that no one is left behind due to lack of money.
Mr. Hamusunga suggested that scholarships at secondary school can be free, while scholarships for tertiary education can be payable back because students will be able to get employment in the far future.
He noted that if government is committing in ensuring that they remove all the barriers that stop children from achieving their goal within the education sector, the move will enable the country achieve the same objectives as those of free education.
“The interpretation of free education with the removal of barriers to education for the vulnerable children, achieve the same objective because what we want to see really is that there is no child who is left out or who does not access quality education on account of some economic, social or cultural barriers.”
“So in the short term, we expect them just to remove economic barriers by providing loans and scholarships for instance, at high school as well as tertiary level so that there is no one who won’t go to secondary school because they don’t have money, they will get a scholarship, and there is no one who will not go to tertiary because they do not have money, they will be able to get a scholarship,” Mr. Hamusunga said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hamusunga noted that free education is not very practical and sustainable at the moment because it means that government must fund all private and public schools, as well as public universities.
“Free education as people know it is not very practical, is not sustainable in our context. For instance, free education entails that at the moment, government starts to fund all private schools, all public schools, and public universities, so that children can go to those institutions for free, that is not possible we cannot find resources for that,” he stated.
In his inaugural speech, President Hakainde Hichilema pledged to pursue policies that will address the core barriers of access to education, while ensuring that established standards for quality education are met and enforced.