KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT says the transformation of the bursaries committee into the higher education loans and scholarships board will help address challenges of
financing higher education.
Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo said this when she installed 13 board members of the higher education loans and scholarships board in Lusaka yesterday to be chaired by Penelope Mapoma.
The board is replacing the bursaries committee that has been in existence since 1962.
“This commitment is a clear manifestation of my ministry’s resolve to provide the best for our students in higher learning institutions,” Professor Luo said.
She said the move is a bedrock upon which access to quality higher education is going to be anchored.
Prof Luo said the bursaries committee administered grants, scholarships and fellowships through a bursary scheme, which she said became unsustainable due to several reasons.
The minister said that over the years, the student population has increased, rising from 312 in 1966 to over 17,000 in 2017, which has over the period led to adjustments in the bursary scheme resulting in the introduction of the principle of cost sharing in 1989.
She also said Government will also continue to sponsor vulnerable students at 100 percent.
“The main objectives of the student loan scheme is to establish a self-sustaining revolving fund for financing university education and to give all eligible students an opportunity to access and equitably participate in university education,” she said.
Prof Luo also said the board will enable universities acquire resources for expanding access to university education and help to reduce the burden of financing university education on the government by sharing the cost with the beneficiaries.
The board also has four permanent secretaries from Higher Education, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Public Service Division. The Attorney-General is also a member.
And Minister of General Education Dennis Wanchinga says there are 26,000 computers in schools countrywide with over 100 pupils using one computer.
Dr Wanchinga said Government will continue to work with stakeholders to equip schools with computers to enhance access to information and communications technology.
He said provision of quality education forms the basis for all dimensions of sustainable development.
The minister said Zambia currently has 8,824 primary schools and about 851 secondary schools.