STEVEN MVULA, Parliament
THE University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) are scheduled to reopen on or around April 10, 2016 subject to the institutions meeting conditions that Government has set.
Government will also operationalise the Higher Education Loans and Scholarship Board in January next year after Parliament adopts it.
Minister of Higher Education Michael Kaingu informed Parliament in Lusaka yesterday that Government has discontinued payment of meal allowances because they are a source of conflicts and have been abused by students.
Dr Kaingu said the decision to reopen CBU and UNZA was arrived at after numerous petitions from eminent citizens such as Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, former Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and letters of apology from the student union leaders.
The two universities were closed over a month ago following violent protests by students over meal allowances.
Dr Kaingu said in order for the two institutions to be reopened, all those who were identified as ringleaders in the riots will be expelled because they are inimical to academic life of the two universities.
He said the institutions must also strictly enforce the use of studentsâ€™ identity cards and install flood lights, security cameras and provide communication walkie-talkie radios to security officers.
Dr Kaingu said all students on government bursary should be surcharged for damage caused to both public and private property.
â€œThe dean of students must also design programmes aimed at instilling discipline in students by sensitising them on social dialogue, non-violent engagement and other dispute resolution processes,â€ Dr Kaingu said.
And responding to Nkana Member of Parliament Luxon Kazabu (PF) during points of clarification, who wanted to know what measures Government has put in place to stop closures, Dr Kaingu said students who are inimical to the progress of the institution will be expelled.
â€œWe also hope to bring to this House before it rises the loans and scholarship bill,â€ Dr Kaingu said.
Namwala MP Moono Lubezhi (UPND) questioned the minister how students will survive now that meal allowance have been abolished.
Dr Kaingu responded that in the 10 years he has been minister both in the MMD era and the PF, it is the PF that has put so much investment in education.
â€œThis government is providing free education to the most vulnerable. Unfortunately some of these students are the ones engaging in riots,â€ he said.
The minister was responding to a question by Sinda MP Levy Ngoma (MMD) who wanted to know if the PF has departed from its pro-poor policies by abolishing meal allowances.
STEVEN MVULA, Parliament