THE Copperbelt University (CBU) has been closed indefinitely, and students have been given a 24-hour ultimatum in which to vacate the premises.
But the CBU Students Union council chairperson Harrison Hampongo said the closure of the university was caused by Government’s failure to find a solution.
Education Minister Michael Kaingu announced the closure of the university at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday.
He however said the closure would not affect the school of medicine and the school of graduate studies.
Dr Kaingu said Government had decided to close the institution following Copperbelt University Academic Union (CBAU) refusal to engage in dialogue.
“Despite many attempts by the council, and specific interventions by the chairman of the council, to persuade the Copperbelt University Academic Union to resume classes, to remove their threats, and engage in dialogue, the CBAU refused to engage in dialogue,” Dr Kaingu explained.
He said the closure of the institution would allow for dialogue to take place so that an amicable solution was found to challenges facing CBU.
Dr Kaingu also said Government had revoked the appointment of a Mr Mwiya Songolo to the CBU University Council.
“This means that Mr Songolo ceases to serve as member of the council of the Copperbelt University. This action has been taken in accordance with part III, section 13, sub-section 3, and the second schedule, part I, section 2, sub-section 2 (f) of the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013,” Dr Kaingu said.
He warned the CBAU against using students as sacrificial lambs when the union had refused to engage in dialogue.
Dr Kaingu has since directed the council of CBU to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the recent unfortunate events at CBU were not repeated in the future.
He encouraged a spirit of dialogue and discussion to the academic and administrative staff of CBU.
He said threats, intimidation, and illegal withdrawal of services should not be part of the educational tools, adding that higher education institutions served as the custodians of the brains in society.