6 December 2012

Zambia: Govt Releases K122 Billion for Classroom Projects

GOVERNMENT has released K122 billion for the construction of 1,070 classrooms countrywide and has also allocated K89 billion for recruitment of 5,000 teachers next year.

Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Minister John Phiri said in Parliament that the money was released from the treasury this week for the construction of classroom blocks this year.

Dr Phiri said this on Tuesday when he presented a ministerial policy statement on estimates for the 2013 national Budget allocation of K5.55 trillion.

"In the 2012 infrastructure operational plan, a total of 1,070 classrooms will be constructed at a cost of K122 billion which has been received from the treasury and was released this week.

"I am pleased to inform this House that this exercise has commenced and will be completed in 2013," Dr Phiri said.

He said the ministry would recruit 5,000 teachers next year with the K89 billion that had been allocated for the exercise.

In the same year, he said, the ministry would build 400 housing units to provide decent houses for teachers.

Dr Phiri said education was cardinal as it empowered people to proactively control their destiny and better grasp economic and social opportunities.

He said the Government was committed to achieving targets set in the Sixth National Development Plan and to implementing Government's aspirations and enhancing the use of information and communication technology.

The ministry would continue working towards reviewing and revising the Education Act of 2011 aimed at aligning the legal framework with policy intentions of the Government.

At tertiary level, Dr Phiri said, construction of phase II was on-going at Kwame Nkrumah, Mukuba and Robert Kapasa Makasa universities.

Dr Phiri said K6.8 billion was allocated for improvement of early childhood education while 44 secondary schools would be ready for use beginning January next year, to bring on board 21,120 pupils during opening of schools for grades eight and 10.

He said K44.2 billion was provided for the procurement of learning and teaching materials for learners with special education needs.

The ministry had provided K25.3 billion for bursaries while in upgrading teachers from diploma to degree levels with preference to mathematics and science, K7 billion was allocated for the programme.

Dr Phiri said K217.9 billion had been allocated to the science, technology and technical education and vocational training sector in which 72 per cent of the budget was allocated to capital projects.

Poverty reduction programmes such as bursary schemes and strategic research plans would also benefit.

The ministry would also continue with the building of trades training institutes in Isoka, Milenge, Kalabo, Sesheke, Mumbwa, Mporokoso, Mwense and Lundazi.

The minister said the programme was aimed at establishing an institution in each district.

Debating the budget, MMD Nalikwanda MP Geoffrey Lungwangwa called for a strengthened revision of the education curriculum.

Alliance for Democracy and Development Luena MP Mulumemui Imenda urged the Government to step up the construction of teachers' accommodation.

UPND Zambezi West MP Charles Kakoma said the Government should continue to explore avenues to increase students accessing various scholarships in a bid to enhance the country's education standards.

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