By Nation Reporter
THE newly enacted Students Loan Act should not be abused by those with authority to award beneficiaries by using underhand methods in their selection which will disadvantage the poor majority, says Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) governance advisor Isaac Mwanza.
Mr Mwanza said although the Students Loans Act was enacted, there must be systems put in place to ensure deserving students received the financial support on merit without any secret conditions or favours attached.
He said the system must be foolproof in order to deal with attitudes of those persons tasked to select or award these loans to ensure every citizen; especially children from poor families were not disadvantaged. “Our people in rural areas are in need of education so they can help to develop themselves, their families, communities and contribute to Zambia’s socio-political and economic development.
“We want to commend Parliament for enacting the Students Loan Act and hope that the new provisions of student loans will not be subjected to underhand methods that will disadvantage the poor majority,” he said.
And Mr Mwanza has hailed President Edgar Lungu for affirming his commitment for the Government to improve education standards in Zambia by upgrading secondary schools and universities across the country.
He said for any nation to develop, there was need to improve access to an education system that allowed them comprehend developmental issues.
He said YALI believed that the Zambian Government should pay special attention to ensuring that its citizens not only acquire a minimum Grade 12 standard level of education, but also facilitate the acquisition of tertiary education by all its citizens.
“It is unacceptable to note that 50 years after Independence, Zambia still lags behind in terms of infrastructure for provision of tertiary education while countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa have more universities that provide for tertiary education.
“Alongside the investment, Government ought to make up in providing infrastructure for higher education. YALI believes Government must pay more attention to improving the conditions of service for lecturers and tutors at institutions of higher learning which will attract qualified manpower and expertise to handle university education,” he said. President Lungu affirmed his commitment to improving access to education for all citizens through his Government’s programme to construct a public university in every province as well as upgrade colleges to university level and some secondary schools to A-Level technical schools.
The Head of State stated at a press conference last week on Friday that Government was doing away with basic schools by upgrading those facilities to secondary schools to ensure more people attained a minimum Grade 12 school level of education.