Government has disclosed that the construction of student hostels and other projects at the University of Zambia (UNZA), Copperbelt University (CBU) and Mulungushi University will be completed next year.
Presenting the slightly over K106 billion budget for the year 2020 to the National Assembly in Lusaka on Friday,27th September, Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu said the government will focus on completing on-going projects at the three public institutions of higher learning.
“Mr. Speaker, at university level, focus in 2020 will be on the completion of the on-going projects. Further, construction of student hostels at the University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University will be completed,” Dr. Ng’andu said.
He said the government would in the year 2020 spend K2 billion on university education, out of which K557 million is for student loans.
Dr Ng’andu further said government has continued to strengthen the recovery of loans under the Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Scheme in order to improve financing to the education sector.
He said the strengthening of recovering the loans from former UNZA and CBU students is part of the effort to increase coverage of students receiving support at the country’s public universities.
Dr Ng’andu has meanwhile disclosed that government will prioritise the completion of some infrastructure development projects in order to improve primary and secondary education in the country.
The Minister of Finance told the National Assembly that the provision of school materials will also be prioritized next year.
“Sir, with regard to skills development, support to technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship development as a means for job and wealth creation will remain a priority,” he added.
He explained that skills and entrepreneurship training to the out-of-school youth and adults will be accelerated during the year 2020.
He said this will be done through better targeting of funds generated under the Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVETA) Skills Development Fund.
“Mr. Speaker, to increase access and improve the quality of education and skills training at all levels, I propose to spend a total of K13.1 billion in 2020. Out of this amount, I have allocated K7.0 billion to primary education and K2.2 billion to secondary education. For university education, I propose to spend K2.0 billion out of which K557.0 million is for student loans,” he said.
Dr Ng’andu has also said 68 out of 115 schools under the Zambia Education Project have been completed this year with the aim of improving the progression rate from primary to secondary school level.
He said in order to strengthen skills development, government procured equipment for 26 TEVET institutions across the country using the Skills Development Fund.
“Further, the construction of the 82 secondary schools under the Zambia Education Enhancement Project, which commenced this year, are scheduled for completion in 2020,” he said.
On efforts which government is making towards reducing the pupil-teacher ratio and enhancing the quality of education at early childhood, primary and secondary school levels, Dr. Ng’andu said government this year recruited and deployed 2,009 teachers.
He said out of this number, a total of 1,263 were female while 746 were male noting that the majority of the teachers recruited were in the fields of science, mathematics and technology.
“Mr. Speaker, to enhance the skills of teachers in science, mathematics and technology subjects, government completed the construction of the National Science Center in 2019. The centre provides in-service training to local and foreign teachers,” he explained.
The Minister of Finance said 150 local and 50 foreign teachers have since been trained while 550 Zambian lecturers of education in science have been trained at the same center.
Today, Dr. Ng’andu unveiled the proposed 2020 budget to the National Assembling totaling to K106 billion 2020, representing 32.4 percent of Zambia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“Of this amount, K72.0 billion, representing 22.0 percent of GDP, will come from domestic revenues, while the balance will be raised through domestic and external financing,” he said.