Govt Needs Support to Boost Education

EDUCATION is important to any nation. To achieve quality education, Government cannot do this alone but through cooperating with other stakeholders such as the private sector and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

In this respect, Government has hailed the stance an NGO known as Promoters of Equality in African Schools (PEAS) has taken to partner with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, Vocational and Early Childhood Education (MESTVEE) to achieve this goal by taking education to places where vulnerable societies needed it.

MESTVEE Deputy Minister, Patrick Ngoma, said in Ndola recently that it was pertinent for the private sector and NGOs to work together with Government in promoting education in Zambia because Government alone could not manage.

Mr Ngoma was speaking at the launch of Kawama Secondary School in Ndola and said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, considered education as a top priority and he was happy with what PEAS was doing in promoting education in Zambia through taking schools in areas like the sprawling KawamaTownship in Ndola.

Kawama is the second secondary school that PEAS has put up in Ndola after George Secondary School which is in George Township near Twapia.

Currently, PEAS has 24 schools already operating in Uganda and two schools operating in Zambia.

Kawama Secondary School started operating in January this year, but the official opening which saw Mr Ngoma as the guest of honour, was done on March 28.

Several top ranking Government officials including the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Chiefs, Susan Kawandami, the Ndola City Council, the District Education Board Secretary and head teachers from various schools, attended the official opening of the school which was characterised with pomp and splendor.

Mr Ngoma said he was thrilled to witness the opening of the school which was brought to the children of Kawama by PEAS, saying the school had come at an opportune time.

“This donation to this community is from committed individuals who are brave enough to bring this facility here. This speaks volumes of the spirit they have to work together with Government. This selfless spirit will enable more of our children to receive quality education for years to come. I wish to thank PEAS through their representatives

who have travelled from the United Kingdom (UK) to come and handover the school to us.

“I urge the private sector and other NGOs to work together with Government in this line because Government alone can’t do everything,” said Mr Ngoma.

He said what PEAS has done in bringing schools and skills to Kawama and George townships was a milestone in facilitating education, adding that it was important that skills became an integral part of education.

“As a ministry, we want to make sure that we have an education which is relevant to society. We need the necessary support so that we build a better Zambia. We consider education as top priority and we are happy with what PEAS has done to our communities in Kawama and George townships. The efforts are appreciated,” said Mr Ngoma.

He urged the community of Kawama Township who are the major beneficiaries of the facility to look after it nicely and take every care to ensure their children got the benefits in full.

He also aised pupils to look after the vulnerable facilities and guard them jealously, while he urged them to concentrate and work hard as the country needed them as the future leaders.

Ms Kawandami, who is Chifubu Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), in which Kawama Ward falls, hailed PEAS for taking the school to the area and said this was the third secondary school in her area against 13 primary schools.

The MP said the coming of PEAS was an indication to service delivery in education.

However, Ms Kawandami requested the MESTVEE to increase the number of secondary schools in her constituency, especially in Kaniki area where there was no secondary school.

“The children in Kaniki walk long distances to go to Chifubu or Kansenshi for secondary education. The children are sometimes attacked on their way to these schools, especially during rainy season,” said Ms Kawandami.

She thanked PEAS for considering Kawama for a secondary school.

Kawama Ward Councillor, Alfred Chapi, said he was the happiest man because his prayer to have a secondary school in his area had been answered.

He said it was a great achievement to have a secondary school in Kawama Township after a long time.

Mr Chapi said for a long time, he had yearned for a secondary school in his ward but things were not forthcoming until PEAS came to his area.

“I am very pleased to have a secondary school here during my tenure of office. I started fighting for this in 2009.

” It was my dream that we have a secondary school. In 2009, I met the director of COIN Foundation – a big construction company in UK – John Rendell who agreed to build a school in Kawama,” said Mr Chapi.

He thanked (former) Ndola Mayor, Mr Chiwala, together with other councillors for the support rendered to acquire six hectares of land for the construction of the school, while he thanked the Kawama community for their support.

PEAS Zambia network managing director, Rachael Kalaba, who was bubbling with joy at the event said it was gratifying to have a school for the people of Kawama.

Ms Kalaba said PEAS’ schools operate using an innovative smart aid model which meant that the schools generated enough internal revenue to run indefinitely and independently of UK fundraising and the school was responsible for running itself and for its own finances and was monitored by PEAS.

She said the organisation’s mission was to unlock the potential of Africa by delivering equal access to affordable, quality secondary education and to develop and launch sustainable secondary schools in Uganda and Zambia.

” PEAS does not fund the operating costs of the school. The school meets its own costs by charging low school fees, running income generating activities and receiving Government support. As the schools grow, PEAS invests in building new classrooms and facilities,” said Ms Kalaba.

She explained that the organisation was building secondary schools in areas where there are disaantaged communities and without a learning facility nearby.

The school gave opportunities to 360 children in grades eight and 10 on 50 per cent access to girls and 50 per cent access to boys.

Ms Kalaba said PEAS believed in the importance of quality education and, therefore, pupils had a full day at school with lunch as well as benefitting from a relevant and equitable curriculum.

The school’s director of education, Wendy Mpakisi, said the school provided quality education which was in line with Government schools.

The school is provided with a teaching team on Government pay role.

Registration for the pupils illegible for places at the school started on December 2 and ran for two weeks and was restricted to pupils of Kawama Township who were selected after seating for their grade seven and grade nine examinations.

The response from parents and pupils to register was overwhelming as they were eager to get a place at a school which was near home, unlike the case was when they were to walk long distances to Chifubu, Kansenshi , Masala and Lubuto townships for secondary education.

PEAS needs a pat on the back for taking education closer home to the less privileged pupils of Kawama Township.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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