Universities in Zambia, like similar institutions the world over must use their academic resources to generate money to fund their activities, says Minister of Higher Education Michael Kaingu.
“The government doesn’t have money to finance various institutions and projects, start being innovative and create money to sustain your operations,’’ he said.
Mr Kaingu said colleges and universities must be innovative and use the numerous skills and opportunities that the institutions have in order to create revenue that will sustain them.
He said tertiary education institutions should not depend on Government for funding because the State cannot fund every institution in the country.
The minister, who was speaking during a tour of Solwezi Trades Training Institute (SOTTI) in the company of the provincial permanent secretary Amos Malupenga and other Government officials, said the institute has a wide skill reservoir in lecturers and students who can create products for the Solwezi market.
“The skills you impart in the students should be used practically to generate money by both the lecturers and students and create products for the Solwezi market,’’ he said.
He said colleges should be innovative and initiate income-generating activities such as carpentry, welding and other skills that can be used to provide a service to the people within the locality of the institution while creating revenue for the institution. “Government’s desire is to create employers, not job seekers; people that don’t need to be employed by Government to create wealth for themselves and the country,’’ he said.
Mr Kaingu however noted that Government will not assist institutions with capital projects that need Government aid.
And SOTTI principal Edmond Kambombe said in a presentation to the minister that the institution faced various challenges that required assistance from Government.
Mr Kambobe said the institution needed a modern workshop for power electrical course and a metal fabrication activity hall that can be used for income generating activities such as weddings, conferences and church activities.
“Our library is not stocked with books required for most courses and this affects the standard of training,” he said.
He added that the institution has transport challenges when transporting staff and students for sports and other activities
Mr Kambobe pointed out that any delays by TEVETA in authorising SOTTI management to introduce new additional courses and advertising on time created a challenge in continuing low turnout of students.
The principal charged that the institution has been experiencing a high number of thefts due to lack of a wall fence, a situation he described as unsafe and should be treated with urgency.