Analysis: ALI SIMWINGA
EDUCATION plays an important role in the development of a nation. It is for this reason that education has been declared a human right, as attested by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1989).
Government recognised that all Zambians have a right to a free compulsory quality education regardless of the wealth of their family or their place of residence.
Government also recognises its responsibility to provide this education, in collaboration with parents, communities and other stakeholders as may be appropriate, and this includes former students.
CHALLENGES FACING EDUCATION SECTOR
However, it is a matter of common knowledge that even with the modicum of its commitments to the education sector, the resources are not enough for Government to do so considering other competing needs.
The expenditure on the education sector as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product is considerably low.
As a matter of fact, in the current 2019 budget, only K13.3 billion or 15.3 percent has been provided for.
This entails that Zambia will continuously and heavily depend on contributions from cooperating partners and stakeholders like ourselves.
Because of this dire financial situation, access to quality education has been compromised at all levels.
Dilapidated and insufficient buildings are a common site in most schools; outdated curriculum; a high teacher-learner ratio; lack of learning facilities such as laboratories and the mushrooming of community schools are equally visible etc.
This is not by design or sheer lack of commitment on the part of Government but due to economic factors which are in the public domain.
MPIKA BOYS SCENARIO
Mpika Boys Secondary School is not immune to these challenges. The school for example, still uses firewood in its kitchen; it has no proper laboratory to cater for the 730 students and has a bedspace of only 500 amongst other challenges to mention but a few.
Clearly, there is urgent need to complement Government’s efforts to ameliorate this sad situation in order that our young colleagues study in a conducive environment.
Government has done its part within the resources available and so has the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) to improve the quality of education and life for our young students at Mpika Boys.
I believe, and genuinely so, that if as former students of Mpika Boys, we put our resources and minds together, we could make a significant contribution to uplifting the welfare of our former school and make our young students see fresh hope. Charles Sawyer ably put it this way:
“Of all the forces that make for a better world none is so indispensable, none so powerful as hope. Without hope, people are only half alive. With hope, they dream, think and work”.
Hope invokes faith, the sense of great determination, a sense of progress, a sense of togetherness, a sense of achievement and, above all, the will to succeed.
We should not only care about our former school Mpika Boys, but we should do something about it now.
This is a journey that we should travel together.
Please, let us plough back where we reaped.
The author is commissioner at Electoral Commission of Zambia.
Analysis: ALI SIMWINGA