‘Close down sub-standard universities’

GOVERNMENT must move in and close private universities that are offering poor standards of education because they are just exployting the people, former Minister of Education Geoffrey Lingwangwa has said in Parliament.

Professor Lungwangwa, who is Nalikwanda member of Parliament, was contributing to the report of the committee on Education, Science and Technology yesterday.

He said the country had now seen the mushrooming of universities that did not offer quality education but were merely out there to milk people out of their money.

“There are a number of backdoor universities that are just out there to make money and this is a serious disservice to the people. The Ministry of Education must close down such universities,” he said.

Professor Lingwangwa called for an increase in the number of inspectors so that they could ably carry out inspections and see which institutions were faulting.

He said that Zambian universities had concentrated so much on general education and sidelining science courses.

“I can give a good example of Ethiopia which has 35 universities and they have placed emphasis on mathematics unlike the Zambian scenario which is so much into general education,” Prof Lungwangwa said.

And Chongwe Member of Parliament Sylvia Masebo noted that infrastructure still remained one of the biggest challenges that students from higher learning institutions faced. She said it was against this background that most female students were enticed by sugar daddies and ended up impregnating them and eventually dropping out of school. The Chongwe lawmaker urged Government to sort out problems in public learning institutions before it could compel private institutions to do the same.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Michael Kaingu said Government had come up with a strategic approach to address the issues raised in the report.

He said one of them was to ensure that they compelled learning institutions to focus more on skills training.

Dr Kaingu said skills training was the backbone of any young economy and that it should be given a lot of attention.

The Education Minister said contrary to assertions that private institutions were not doing well, a report last year showed that students from private institutions had performed better than those from public institutions.

He said the country had failed to admit about 80 percent of eligible students at the public universities and that private institutions were filling up the gap.

“We have put up a strategic approach to address issues in the report through short term, medium and long term plans. Actually private universities fill in the gap that we fail as a country to admit about 80 percent of the students in our public universities,” he said.

Presenting the report, Lukulu East Member of Parliament Dr Christopher Kalila said there was low quality of education offered by private universities.

He said that graduates were leaving training institutions with little knowledge in their various fields of study.

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