SUNDAY PROFILE with CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe
â€œAFTER being in the United States of America (USA) for five years, I decided to come back because I had a vision here (Zambia) and not in America,â€ says Egidio Machuta, founder of Kabweâ€™s Paglory College of Education.
Having obtained his doctorate in philosophy and theology at Dallas Baptist University, Dr Machuta had every reason to forget Zambia and make the USA his new home.
But his Godly call was in Kabwe, where he started a teacher training college.
In the USA, Dr Machuta did pastoral work at Christ for All Nations.
When he shared with his friends in the US that he was returning to Zambia, they instead laughed at him.
â€œThey said â€˜you canâ€™t go back to Zambia. Canâ€™t you see that America is better?â€ shared Dr Machuta from his office at Paglory College of Education in Kabweâ€™s Railways Township.
â€œI said that my vision was for Zambia and not America and I remembered my uncle once telling me that when you go to America, donâ€™t stay, come back to develop your country.â€
Dr Machuta does not regret coming back to Zambia as his college has grown to become a reputable teacher training institution, which is able to attract students from neighboring countries like Botswana and Tanzania.
His decision to open a college was born out of his desire to create a job for his daughter Patricia Kifwabuntu, who around 1995 had left Kabwe Trade Training Institute where she was doing a secretarial course.
As a clergyman, he says, he asked God to guide him on how to create a job for his daughter.
â€œHe (God) told me not only to create a job for one person but to create jobs for many people. He gave me an idea of training teachers,â€ Dr Machuta, a former Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) worker says.
Some people whom he shared his plans with were sceptical and discouraged him but others among them, a Mr Mwamuwange, a principal inspector in the Ministry of Education then encouraged him.
â€œI also realised that they were very few of our people who were finding places in Government institutions because it was too competitive,â€ he says.
Now, the college, he says, is able to provide training opportunities and since inception over 3000 teachers have been trained.
â€œSo we are not only looking at Kabwe alone, but people who qualify and wherever they are coming from, we train them here,â€ Dr Machuta says.
When he was in the USA, Mrs Kifwabuntu, his co-director, supported by other members of staff remained in charge of the then small private college.
Following his return, and armed with faith in God, Dr Muchuta set in motion an ambitious infrastructure development plan to expand the college established 1996.
The college started operating within Kabweâ€™s town centre where Dr Muchuta rented a building which offered space with a classroom and two offices.
The college initially offered early childhood and primary school certificate programmes and in the first year, it enrolled 53 students-out of which two were males.
By 1998, the college relocated to its current premises where it rented a Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) Community Development Centre.
Dr Machuta says two classrooms and an administration office were established.
According to him Godâ€™s favour was evident on his life as ZRL decided to sell the premise, which he managed to buy.
His goal was to establish a college with a good learning environment for students by ensuring that the school had a library, enough classrooms, a hall, laboratory, industrial and creative arts centre and a chapel.
â€œWhen I came back (to Zambia) I found the same property I left. I decided to develop the place,â€ Dr Muchuta recalls.
â€œWe have built Rhema house which accommodates my office, that of the principal accountant, directors, staff room and boardroom and 16 lecture rooms.
â€œWe expanded the library because it was very tiny, we have also developed a two storey block, the library, the chapel and there is also Chitapamkwa Hall,â€ Dr Machuta said.
The college also has another campus within Railways Township for Early Childhood Diploma programme run in partnership with Zambia Open University.
The Secondary Teachers Diploma programme introduced after the primary school certificate programme was dropped is done in association with University of Zambia.
â€œWe are working with the two universities (as) we need certification for our students. We need them to come and supervise us as we need quality education,â€ Dr Machuta said.
Dr Machuta adds that his college, apart from imparting academic knowledge in students also draws them near to God.
The students, he says, are moulded into good teachers capable producing the desired results in their work places.
Dr Machuta is thankful to Government for liberalising the education sector.
This development is helping in increasing training opportunities for would be teachers and mitigating the shortage of teachers in the country.
He however, urges Government to monitor private colleges to ensure compliance and quality training.
Before opening the college, Dr Machuta worked for ZISC which he joined in 1975 and his first posting was in Luanshya where he worked as an underwriter.
After some years, he was promoted to position of senior superintendent in the sales research and development section before being transferred to Kabwe.
A former student of Chamboli Secondary School in Kitwe, Fatima Secondary in Ndola and Francisdele Junior Seminary, Dr Machuta wanted to be a Roman Catholic priest.
â€œI wanted to train as a priest,â€ he says, â€œI went to Kafina (now St Marys Junior Seminary in Chipata where I did my philosophy but I left and went to NRDC (Natural Resource Development College) where I did business management.â€
Before he finished this course, he was taken to National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) for training to beef up work in the Ministry of Finance.
At NIPA, he did a crush programme in accountancy after which he was sent to Northern Province to work at the provincial accounting office.
Dr Machuta is also founder of Paglory Ministries.
â€œI did not abandon my priesthood. When evangelist Reinhard Bonnke came to Zambia, I got born again and I joined the Pentecostal movement. I joined Ebenezer Tabernacle of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God where I served as church secretary and missionsâ€™ director,â€ Dr Machuta said.
According to Dr Machuta plans are underway to build first ever private education university in Kabwe.
He says the university will be constructed about eight kilometres from Paglory College of Education.
â€œEducation has now become something that people are cherishing and people are advancing in education,â€ he says.
â€œPeople are looking for degrees, people are looking for masters degrees, people are looking for doctorates, professorship. The more we provide facilities, the better it is for people.â€
Dr Machuta also believes that the best place where people can achieve their dreams is in their own country and not abroad.
SUNDAY PROFILE with CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe