6 February 2013

Zambia: Govt's Free Education Plans Win Kudos

VARIOUS stakeholders have hailed Government's intention to extend free education to secondary schools.

Citizens Forum programmes manager Chitalu Ng'andu said yesterday in an interview that the initiative was in line with attaining the Millennium Development Goal(MDG) on reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development.

He implored Government to ensure the policy benefited disabled people who in the past had limited access to secondary education for various reasons.

"Society will have more educated people and this is in line with attaining the MDG on reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development," he said.

Mr Ng'andu said Government should put priority on education infrastructure and environment friendly to the disabled.

Senior Chief Kafwimbi of Isoka District said access to free secondary education would reduce poverty because many children failed to go to school because of the lack of money to pay school fees.

The traditional leader said introducing free education at secondary schools will increase learners who in turn would contribute to national development.

Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Roy Mwaba said education was privatised under the previous regime which disadvantaged the majority of Zambians.

"The majority of parents had the challenge to pay school fees, let alone buy uniforms. Extension of free education to secondary level is welcome because it will allow more parents to send their children to school.

It is the right decision at the right time," Mr Mwaba said.

He urged Government to put in place instruments to regulate and ensure free quality education and that national leaders should send their children to public schools to cultivate confidence in the learning facilities.

"Government should build more schools, colleges and universities because free education will produce more graduates which will translate in the need for more jobs. Job creation should be top priority," he said.

Vice-President Guy Scott announced that it would be futile if citizens offered free primary school education failed to access secondary school education because of exorbitant fees.

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