6 October 2012

Zambia: Civil Service Bank Coming, Says Minister

EDUCATION Minister John Phiri has said plans are underway to establish a Civil Service Bank to enable civil servants access low interest loans.

Dr Phiri said the bank was among other reforms that had taken root since the signing of the last collective agreement aimed at improving the welfare of public service workers.

Dr Phiri said this in a speech read on his behalf by Education Permanent Secretary Mirriam Chinyama during the World Teachers' Day celebrations in Lusaka.

"Government has initiated a number of reforms since the signing of the last collective agreement, all aimed at improving the welfare of its workforce. Among the efforts currently underway, include the establishment of a Civil Service Bank, which will facilitate access to low interest loans, once established and purchase capital assets such as houses and cars," Dr Phiri said.

He said it was Government's desire that the public service workers were motivated through favourable conditions of service.

Dr Phiri said education was the pillar for any form of development in any country and that the thrust of the education system hinged on the teachers.

"For this reason, irrespective of any technological innovations teachers will ever remain paramount to the education system and the overall development of the country" he said.

The Government had also embarked on the construction of more teacher houses across the country to address accommodation problems.

He said 83 secondary schools were currently under construction and that each would have 20 houses to ensure decent accommodation.

He said plans were underway to build an additional 400 houses next year for teachers in rural primary schools, targeting at least 40 houses for each province.

Dr Phiri said the celebrations under the theme, 'Take a Stand for Teachers', provided an opportunity for the world to also reflect and promote the existence of the teaching profession.

It also provided the teaching fraternity to reflect on their conduct as well as performance and seek ways to enhance their commitment to duty.

And the Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ) president Cosmas Mukuka called for increased budgetary allocation to the education sector and improved conditions of service for teachers.

Mr Mukuka appealed to the Government to seize the opportunity and take practical steps to improve education standards in Zambia.

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