Chituwo preaches empathy over CBU closure

LECTURERS who have gone on strike at the Copperbelt University (CBU) must deeply reflect and think about the future of their students, says former minister of Education Brian Chituwo.

He told the Daily Nation in an interview that the closure of the second highest learning institution did not only affect students and management but also the entire country.

Dr Chituwo, who is also Mumbwa Member of Parliament said the closure of any learning institution was a serious setback to the country’s realization of the Vision 2030.

He said the period of negotiations that yielded no results between management and the union had gone beyond the normal three days.

Dr Chituwo said lecturers could have used their conscience to get back to work as they waited for their issues to be sorted out.

“I want to appeal to the lecturers at CBU to use their conscience; the period of negotiations was far too long. Under normal circumstances, if the standoff persists after three days the institution automatically closes. But in this case management tried to negotiate for 10 days,” he said.

Dr Chituwo said it was high time management learnt to attend to issues raised by all stakeholders in the quickest possible time to avoid occurrences of such nature.

“Closure of any institution is a setback to the realization of our vision 2030. In most cases it is students who are usually on the other side of the game but this time it is lecturers. This is not only a loss to the students or management but also to the entire nation as a whole,” he said.

Dr Chituwo called for dialogue on matters of national significance as opposed to confrontation which did not yield any positive outcome.

Meanwhile, Dr Chituwo has called on Government to quickly sort out the problems at the institution to ensure that students quickly got back to the institution. He said universities were receiving funds through grants from Government and that they were expected to perform to expectations.

Last week, Minister of Education Michael Kaingu issued a ministerial statement in Parliament assuring Zambians that Government was doing everything possible to ensure that the institution could be reopened in the shortest possible time.

Dr Kaingu explained that Government decided to close the institution indefinitely on Wednesday because the academic union had rejected all requests and opportunities for dialogue.

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