Analysis: TIMOTHY KAMBILIMA
THE allocation of K11.6 billion to the education sector by Minister of Finance Felix Mutati in the 2018 national budget wouldn’t have come at a better time than now.
Government has been making strides in increasing funding to the education sector and this is commendable.
It is a well-known fact that for standards of education to improve in our country, a lot of financial resources need to be allocated to the sector.
The sector in Zambia has universities, colleges, trades schools, secondary, primary and early childhood. Though we have two ministries, namely General Education and Higher Education, they are dependent on each other. The Patriotic Front government under the leadership of President Edgar Lungu has upgraded hundreds of primary schools into secondary, and at the same time, new primary and secondary schools have been constructed in all the 10 provinces of Zambia.
What does this mean? It means more money is needed to equip these vital institutions with quality textbooks and other learning and teaching materials. It is therefore gratifying to see Government increasing budgetary allocation from K10.6 billion in 2017 to K11.56 billion in 2018. Universities have not been left out by the government in the 2018 national budget.
To this effect, Government has set aside a total of K1.8 billion, which is meant for primary and secondary school infrastructure, student loans and scholarships, for those who genuinely deserve university and college infrastructure as well as skills development.
If one looks at the overall budget for Zambia in 2018, Government has reduced funding to education from 16.5 percent in 2017 to 16.1 percent.
In 2018, the actual money has gone up from K10.6 billion to K11.6 billion in 2018. This simply shows the government’s desire and commitment to provide quality education standards to every child in Zambia.
Readers may wish to know that a total of 220 basic schools have been upgraded into day secondary schools, which has resulted in the creation of over 100,000 spaces for learners.
With increased funding to the education sector, we are going to see young people being empowered with life-long and survival skills.
It is everyone’s hope that funding to the education sector will keep on increasing so that science, technology and innovation attract expertise and equipment for research and development.
For any country to attain meaningful and sustainable development, it is important to put more efforts in the education sector.
It is imperative for all controlling officers and spending agencies to ensure that there is prudent management of taxpayers’ money, which should be released on time by the Ministry of Finance. The money should be used 100 percent for its intended purpose.
We should always remember that any ngwee that is not used properly affects that child in Chipata, Chililabombwe, Sikongo, Mansa, Dundumwezi, Solwezi, Serenje and other parts of Zambia. Parents also need to supplement the efforts of our Government by paying user charges in public schools from grades eight to 12.
The author is a Luanshya-based social commentator.