EDUCATION, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Minister John Phiri has assured the University of Zambia (UNZA) students that they will be paid their bursary allowances by Tuesday next week.
Dr Phiri said the Government was concerned with the welfare of the students and would ensure the bursary committee in partnership with UNZA management released the funds by Tuesday.
He said in Lusaka yesterday that the Government had released K16 billion to the bursary committee to dismantle some of the outstanding allowances owed to the students.
He was speaking when he addressed hundreds of protesting UNZA students who marched to the bursary offices in Longacres to press Government over their unpaid allowances.
"We are concerned about your demands and I want to assure you that by Tuesday next week you will receive your bursaries. Your academic calendar which runs up to October 31, will also not be disrupted.
"This money is being processed and our accountants are working together with the bursary committee and UNZA management to ensure that you are paid," he said.
Dr Phiri told the protesting students whose majority were males that the bursary committee would spend the whole weekend working on modalities to accelerate disbursement of the resources.
He however said there was a lot of inefficiency in the manner the bursary scheme was handled which had caused delays in some instances on disbursement of allowances to the students.
"There has been a lot of inefficiency in the manner this system is done and we need to put a smooth administrative system to ensure the bursaries are released effectively," he said.
On the hosting of the 2012 Supreme Council for Sports in Africa Zone VI under 20 youth games in Zambia, Dr Phiri said the Government was committed to ensuring the games succeeded.
Dr Phiri who read a communiqué to the students issued jointly by his ministry and his counterpart from Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili, said the Government had identified various venues among them UNZA where the games would take place.
He said UNZA would host 3,000 athletes from 10 member countries that included Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"In order to host these games successfully, there is need to bring these venues to acceptable standards and as such rehabilitation works have since commenced," he said.
The rehabilitation works for UNZA would be done in a two phase approach starting with external works to avoid disrupting the academic calendar.
He said the rehabilitation works would subsequently result in improved infrastructure for the hostels and recreation facilities, water supply and sanitation.
During the rehabilitation process, the Minister assured the University community and people at large that the academic calendar would run as scheduled.
Earlier, the students, walked all the way from UNZA Great East Campus to the bursary committee offices while chanting slogans and causing part traffic jams on the Great East Road.
As they continued with their protest journey, police officers in full riot gear surrounded the bursary offices to keep vigil.
Shortly after addressing them, Dr Phiri directed the Permanent Secretary to bring about four big buses to ferry the students back to campus but some complained of hunger.
Others resisted the decision and kept loitering in the bursary office premises saying they wanted Dr Phiri to give them money to buy groceries as they waited for allowances on Tuesday.