7 July 2012

Zambia: Hone Students Applaud Government 'Rescue Mission'

GOVERNMENT has come to the rescue of Evelyn Hone College (EHC) students who have been boycotting classes since Wednesday, demanding, among other things, transport.

This followed a meeting between the Evelyn Hone College Students Union (EHCOSU) and Vice-President Guy Scott at Cabinet Office yesterday.

EHCOSU president Machila Banda confirmed yesterday that the union met Dr Scott around 14:00 hours after writing to him and explained the problems the institution was facing.

Mr Banda said besides being awarded a Higer bus to be handed over to the learning institution next week, Dr Scott pledged to pave the way for completion of a structure meant for hostels which had been abandoned for several years.

He said the outcome of the meeting was a clear demonstration that the Government had a "listening ear" and that it should continue with the same spirit.

He has since implored the students to remain calm and report back to class on Monday, now that the Government had responded to their major demands.

In a related development, the University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) has praised Government and University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) for finding a solution to the impasse which had beset the institution.

Reacting to UNZALARU's decision to call off their go-slow and subsequent announcement of the re-opening of the learning institution, UNZASU president Ali Tunkara said in an interview yesterday that the students' body was happy with the outcome of the negotiations between Government and the lecturers and researchers.

"We are happy as students. We thank the Government, lecturers and researchers for listening to the plight of the students.

"Our battle has been won without anyone being harmed or causing damage to public property," he said.

Mr Tunkara observed that dialogue was the best ingredient to moving forward when dealing with such pressing issues, and urged the Government to ensure that it dealt with such problems with the urgency they deserved.

UNZASU secretary general Mwauluka Sishekanu also commended the Government, lecturers and researchers for what he termed as historic negotiations, but that the parties should be reprimanded for the impasse.

"It has got to be appreciated that the negotiations only began on Wednesday, July 4, 2012 and by 18:00 hours the same day the two parties (Government and UNZALARU) had reached an understanding.

"This has never happened in the history of the university and it can be attributed to the intervention by the Education Minister," he said.

UNZA lecturers and researchers have resolved to call off their go-slow following Government's decision to inject K34.3 billion additional budgetary allocation into the institution.

First-year students are expected to report to the institution tomorrow while returning students would do so on July 18, 2012.

Examination results were expected to be released on July 16.

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