ZAMBIA is in dire need of development.
For the country to develop, it requires a cadre of educated citizens to translate Government’s policies into reality.
Education is one of the basic needs for human development. It is no longer just a right or a luxury but mandatory.
Little wonder Zambia, like several other countries around the globe, recognises education as the driver for effecting national development.
This is why Government has continued to invest heavily in the education sector. Education is a tool for social and economic development of the country.
Education is equally the key for the country’s cultural, political and spiritual development.
It therefore follows that the country can only achieve social, economic, cultural, political and spiritual development if our institutions of higher learning deliver quality education.
That is why when this country had few universities and colleges, graduates were highly respected because they went through the mill before being unleashed back to society.
However, times are changing, so are the country’s social, economic, cultural, political and spiritual realities.
There is a paradigm shift.
So, colleges and universities are no longer required to produce graduates for formal employment only.
School-leavers need to be equipped with skills which will make them relevant to the economy.
The Ministry of General Education should in this case work closely with the Ministry of Higher Education and the Technical Education and Vocational Training as well as the Higher Education Authority in designing curriculum that caters for all school-leavers – from those aspiring for university and college education to those in need of vocational skills.
At the core of this call are careers masters in secondary schools who should be guiding pupils on higher education.
For instance, with the economic expansion taking place in Zambia, there is demand for building engineers, craftsmen, including agricultural officers.
Institutions of higher learning are expected to adapt by offering disciplines currently on demand.
But the proliferation of universities and colleges has seemingly spoilt the broth as most institutions of higher learning are more into profit making than offering a service for which they were established.
That is why Government has warned institutions of higher learning against compromising the country’s education standards through poor service provision.
Acting Minister of Higher Education Harry Kalaba said the education sector is expected to provide the necessary skills that will steer Zambia to socio-economic prosperity.
Mr Kalaba said for the country to remain relevant and competitive in a highly technological world, the standards of qualified personnel should be raised to international levels.
Government has identified human resource development as a key enabler towards achievement of priority areas of the Vision 2030.
We expect the Higher Education Authority to constantly liaise with all institutions of higher learning to ensure that they are complying with minimum standards.
Apart from the Higher Education Authority ensuring that institutions of higher education are churning out graduates who are ready for the job market, they are required to have competent lecturers.
Qualified lecturers will always inspire their students.
And the institutions of higher learning will remain relevant and competitive in a highly technological world.