Education can be a tool to ending poverty, prods Lewis Mwape
…..Every child must have access to school and learning
By Lewis Mwape ZCSD Executive Director
“Education can be a tool to ending poverty,” prods Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) Executive Director Lewis Mwape.
An educationalist by profession, Mr. Mwape implored Zambian and global society to ensure that every child must have guaranteed access to school and learning.
After taking reigns of leadership from then ZCSD Executive Secretary, Reverend Malawo Matyola, Mwape is prodding General Education Minister Permanent Secretary (PS) Henry Tukombe to act above board in ensuring that money appropriated for learning and teaching aids is not spent on administrative interests.
According to Mwape, prudential use of public resources will result in public money little as it is being spent on areas meant to improve the Zambian education arena.
“Instead of spending K2 billion on official vehicles, such resources even as little as K800, 000 being spent on schools can go a long way in improving the learning environment,@ advised Mwape lamenting that even the bursaries schemes dispensed by Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu luo are increasing being accessed by children of the elite and wealthy, instead of benefitting poor communities.
Mwape is worried that biased and selective implementation of bursaries is confining a father, mother, brothers and sisters into generational poverty.
The ZCSD Executive Director says leadership and middle income opportunities in Zambia have been monopolised by families that had political closeness to former First Republican President, Dr. Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda and United National Independence Party (UNIP) peers.
“We want to bring back possibility of an ordinary bus conductor become Head of State,” Mwape said in an apparent reference to Second Republican President, the late Dr. Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba.
For a fisherman to have a slight chance of becoming a leader, we need to ensure that every rural or peri-urban child is educated.
Discussing the negative aspects of the pyramid system of learning and examinations, Mwape protested that it does not guarantee pupils and students in the graded streams to reach the completion point.
Unfortunately, in today’s Zambia bursaries at university level are increasingly accessed by students and learners from capable families.
Mwape says there is need for the Mr. Tukombe to broaden access to bursaries and ensuring that he leads in the accountability, rodding President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Vice-President Inonge Mutukwa-Wina to protect and guarantee access to education among poor people.
“Interests of the people must supersede other preferences and relationships, thus anyone found wanting in execution of public resources must be dealt with as poor and vulnerable people may suffer. President Lungu and Vice-President Ms. Mutukwa-Wina to protect people and not otherwise,” said Mwape.
Mwape implored the Finance Minister Felix Chipota Mutati must equally ensure that resources expended for empowerment of the people are spent as appropriated, and not trapped at the central level.
“I believe that change can only come through adherence to allocations. President Lungu must take interest by directly getting involved in measures to increase access to education in Zambia,” advised Mwape.
Mwape says President Lungu must recall a time when his mother did not have money for education, or what would have happened to those that benefitted from Dr. Kaunda’s UNIP influenced free education from primary to university level.
The ZCSD Executive Director says it is not just about you providing free education but appreciating that 54 per cent of people are living in abject poverty while 42 per cent of the Zambian citizens are confronted with teething poverty.
Mwape is worried that some six million of the 16 million population are living in extreme poverty and in dire need of government interventions to send children to school, accessing health services and agricultural support.
Mwape says increased investment in agricultural support, can record positive strides through the Patriotic Front leadership and President Lungu being allergic to corruption.
“Universally, we all seek public service to help the poor, pleaded Mwape.