CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT will ensure that higher institutions of learning strengthen research capacities to conduct various study activities and develop abilities in Zambians to carry out research programmes of international standards.
Acting Minister of Higher Education Sylvia Chalikosa said it is through research that evidence to inform cost-effective programming and policy changes can be generated to make positive contributions to economic diversification and decent job creation.
Ms Chalikosa said this in Lusaka yesterday during the first international multi-disciplinary conference under the theme ‘Knowledge sharing and innovation competitiveness for response and sustainable development’.
“To achieve the objectives and goals set out in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), there is need for Government, together with stakeholders, to invest in research and development,” she said.
Ms Chalikosa said according to the 7NDP, science, technology and innovation are recognised today as the most important drivers of sustained and inclusive development.
“In Zambia’s development agenda, research and development is expected to play a critical role in the diversification process. There is also need to explore opportunities that will enhance productive capacities of various sectors of the economy,” she said.
Ms Chalikosa said Zambia envisions an economy which is competitive, self-sustaining, dynamic and resilient to any external shock and supports stability and protection of the ecosystem.
She said although some achievements have been made in the transfer and commercialisation of research and development outputs, the rate of diffusion and commercialisation of locally developed technologies and services is still unsatisfactory.
Ms Chalikosa said there is need to enhance the output of science and technology, and that initiatives like the international multi-disciplinary conference will greatly contribute to addressing some of the challenges.
And Higher Education Authority acting director Vitalis Chifwepa said Zambia currently has six public universities and 58 private ones.
He said the challenge, however, with some private universities is the employment of unqualified staff, the matter which the authority is trying to address.