24 June 2008

Zambia: 'Govt Determined to Attain Education MDG'

The Government will help create an enabling environment for the provision of education to enable Zambia attain the millennium development goal (MDG) on education, Vice-President Rupiah Banda has said.

Mr Banda said in Lusaka yesterday that the Government's commitment to the attainment of education for all was evidenced by the provision of free education for all children from grade one to seven.

Mr Banda said this in a speech read for him by Deputy Minister in the office of the Vice-President, Friday Malwa, during the official opening of Helen DeVos Christian Basic School in Kanyama Township and the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ), the founders of the school.

Mr Banda said the Government had abolished user fees for children in public schools to afford them an opportunity to access education.

"This policy confirms the New Deal's commitment to creating an enabling environment of education for all, thus, being in line with the challenges of the MDGs," he said.

Further, he said, the Government encouraged the upgrading of primary schools into basic schools to offer basic education up to grade nine to enhance education standards among the citizenry in the country.

Mr Banda said the Government would continue working with the Church and civil society organisations in providing education to children, especially the underprivileged.

"My Government is always ready to partner with institutions such as the CACZ in the alleviation of poverty as well as promoting education for all in Zambia," he said.

He said initiatives such as the Helen DeVos Christian Basic School and many Church-run community schools would always receive Government support.

"I am reliably informed that this beautiful school that we celebrate today has come about as a result of one old woman in her 80s who felt a deep quest to share the abundance of the Lord's provision in her life with these children.

"This woman is known as Mrs Helen DeVos, hence, the name of this school was named in her honour," he said.

He said the school, which would cater for more than 250 children, was a blessing to the people of Kanyama Township as it would help mitigate poverty.

The school would remain a symbol of Christian faith, he added.

Earlier, CACZ executive director, Daisy Muzukutwa said the organisation was running three centres for three different age groups ranging from a day's old to 14-year-old children.

In moving a vote of thanks, CACZ representative, Barbara Chilangwa said the organisation was elated by Government's commitment to education.

Ms Chilangwa, who is a former Education permanent secretary, said the organisation would continue partnering with others, including the Government, to help address educational needs in the country.

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