Features

Crack of new dawn in education

FRANCIS LUNGU,Lusaka
AS SCHOOLS open today for the first term of 2022,Dalitso Phiri, a Grade Nine pupil in Lusaka, will for the first time go to class without worrying about being sent back home for failing to pay school fees.Dalitso recounts that from his first grade, he would always be among pupils that would be summoned by his teachers regarding non-payment of school fees.His mother,Audrey Mwanza,who earns a living from a small cottage business at her home in Chainda Township, has been struggling to keep her four children in school.From now on, the story of Dalitso and other disadvantaged children in public schools is about to change.School fees have been abolished in all public schools, thanks to the new dawn administration, which has taken a bold step in a bid to remove barriers to education for the underprivileged.This is in line with the UPND government’s free education policy which they propagated in their campaign promises before they took over the reins of power. In his budget speech to Parliament last year, Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the provision of free education from grades one
to 12, and only recently , Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima proved doubters wrong when he announced the guidelines for the free education policy.“This is a very good thing for a poor widow like myself,” a delighted Ms Mwanza says.“What Government has done will help me have a free mind and my children are guaranteed of being in school up to Grade 12.” Ms Mwanza is just one of the many parents that are delighted that the burden of paying school fees has been lifted from their shoulders. Lucy Ngulube, a Copperbeltbased mother of five, feels education in public schools is not absolutely free because of some other financial obligations that parents have to bear.Ms Ngulube says the Ministry of Education needs to shed more light on how the free education policy will be implemented because some public schools are CLICK TO READ MORE

 


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