Columnists Features

Musankwa Makwamba’s death has ignited bursary reforms

By KELVIN ESIASA
THE late Nelson Mandela said education is the most powerful weapon which one can use to change the world.
The World Bank states that education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability.
Education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future.
Education is critical to reducing poverty and inequality.
The importance of education is undeniable for every single person. It goes without saying that education has a positive effect on human life.
It plays such a rudimentary role on our society that we cannot even imagine life without it.
Education is a determined element for the civilisation of human society.
Not only does it help  us develop healthy surroundings but it also generates an advanced community.
As a matter of fact, everything we create today is based on the knowledge that we obtain throughout our life by way of education.
So I would like to join many Zambians who are mourning the demise of Musankwa Makwamba.
Musankwa’s death is very traumatising. I feel pity for the family and the anguishit is going through.
It is very sad that a brilliant girl has gone too soon. It is sad that the future of Zambia has gone in pain.
It is sad that the young lady could not see herself survive in life without having her degree from the University of Zambia.
So Makwamba’s death is heartbreaking for Zambia. It is sad to hear that a young girl committed suicide because she could not get the financial support for education.
Of course none of us Zambians, including myself, condone suicide. Suicide is not condoned in any society.
But it is important for us to sympathise and appreciate the frustration that the school-leavers go through to get a bursary.
Obviously,  Makwamba died of frustration.
Even if Makwamba is not here to explain her action, I believe her death is a clear indication of what schools-leavers are going through.
It is also a clear indication that some school-leavers take education seriously and consider financial support a priority in the advancement of their education.
Her death is also a clear indication that school-leavers are frustrated and some are no longer optimistic about their education.
Makwamba’s death also reminds me of many young people who cry for financial support just to attain professional education. There are many young people in this country that are in need of financial support.
Colleagues in the education sector testify of how school leavers flock from office to office in search of financial support for education.
There is a huge demand for financial support among school-leavers which the current Bursaries Committee cannot handle.
In conclusion, I would like to support the Minister of Education for emphasising the need to turn the Bursaries Committee into a Loans Board.
Government should also take this opportunity to reform the education sector.
Government should embark on education reforms that are aimed at ensuring that every school leaver attains university education.
Government should also call for a stakeholder meeting for all  institutions of higher learning in Zambia to discuss matters concerning the bursary scheme in Zambia.
Although Makwamba’s death is painful, Government should learn from this experience and use it as a lesson to reform the bursary committee.
As it is said, let this phase not repeat itself.
The author is president for Zambian Society for Public Administration and Society for Family Business – Email:kelvinesiasa@hotmail.com

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