Zambian Education Must Be Reviewed

Kelvin ESIASA

Kelvin ESIASA

By Kelvin Esiasa

One thing that I failed to understand during my school days were lessons on topics that had no connection to Zambian history and developments.

For instance lessons on Shaka the Zulu, Mwenemutapa and  World Plantation. The lessons were nice to read but these topics had no relevance to Zambian history and development. The topics were interesting to read and informative and teachers ensured that we memorized these stories.

I still up to now fail to understand why they were placed in Zambian history even when Zambia had a rich history which has never been documented. No wonder we have so many Zambians who cannot explain the history of Zambia. This is also the same reason why the Zambian history and culture has been overshadowed by foreign history and culture.

I remember boasting with my friends that we were among the best pupils at school simply because we were studying pure science subjects. We hoped that we would have better careers in Zambia with our pure sciences but surprising at the end of grade twelve we ended up studying business courses .

This is because graduates from business programmes such as economics, Accountancy and business management were highly paid in Zambia. Sometimes, graduates in Business course were even promoted faster than their colleagues in technical fields.

I have also seen Engineers that have abandoned their engineering career and became chartered accountants.  I have also seen parents who do not want their children to study the professions they studied simply because the parent failed to succeed in their career. I have also seen that there are a lot of programmes either at degree or Diploma or Certificate or MBA levels that have weird combination of courses in their programmes. Sometimes it is difficult to understand the career path for some of the courses offered in Zambia. It is only in Zambia where one can find a diploma or certificate with so many subjects.

All these problems are as a result of not having a well defined education system. The lapses in our education system are also as a result of not linking our education system to the industry. It is against this background that I wish to advocate for the need to review the education system so that it could suit the current and future needs of Zambia’s development.

UK, South Africa, Malaysia, Germany, Canada, India, USA and Australia have developed curriculums that were anchored on national social and economic developments. In recent years, Malaysia and South Africa have become a place of choice for many Zambian students. But surprisingly up to now Zambia is still struggling to develop curriculums that could explain economics, social, law, marketing, geography and Information technology concepts using Zambian concepts.

We need to review our education system so that children can study programmes that have relevance to the development of Zambia.  We need to review the education system so that it   should profit the nation at large. Education Managers or administrators should arise to the fact that they should be education entrepreneurs that could develop programmes which can compete favorably on the global market as well as link learning institution with the industry. The following are some of the ways that education can be improved in Zambia.

Continuous Syllabus review

Continuous syllabus review will help the nation from having oblate syllabuses. As a nation we need to review our education system by pruning courses that were irrelevant to the development of Zambia. Education experts should tailor the education system to national developmental trends.

Developing Robust Education Marketing System

Zambia Institute of Marketing says marketing is a key to success. The Zambian education lacks the marketing blend. Learning institution should develop robust education marketing system or marketable education brands.

Learning institution should develop programmes that can help them to develop global education brands that were able to sell on their own. For instance, there were very few Zambian learning institutions that have invested in good websites, student’s services, developing learning materials, hosting academic conference, publishing journals and conducting researches. Good marketing system can be addressed through developing of good websites, Study text, syllabus, examination papers, certificates, student services and administration.

The hosting of conferences would add value to Zambian Schools and increase their marketing efforts. So Schools should invest in the education researches, competitions and conferences. We have so many universities and colleges therefore, it’s time that learning institution got together and started hosting academic conferences aimed at sharing new researches and developments in the academic. Learning institution should also start publishing academic journals in order to educate general public on academic development.

Employing Qualified Education Managers

The success of every institution is dependent on the people heading it. There are so many institutions where students were protesting, student could either protest against the administration or poor services they received. So this can be avoided by employing qualified education Managers or Administrators. In Zambia, many people that were running learning institution in Zambia were either former classroom teachers or Lecturers. In some cases, these people had transferred their classroom mannerism to universities’ administrations that were in problems because they do not have good Managers.

Programme scholarships

The general public should also start supporting learning institution by offering sponsorship and guidance on management of learning institution. There are so many Zambian companies up to now that were sending their employees abroad to do the same courses that were available in Zambia. There were also families that were sending their children abroad to do the same courses that were available in Zambia even when they would compete for same jobs with their colleagues from local institutions. So its high time that the industry in Zambia started supporting local institutions through partnership on programme development and sponsorships.

Networking

Zambian Universities and Colleges should start networking so that they could share academic challenges and information. Institution should also share information that could help them to improve their performances. This will help the learning institution to avoid unnecessary challenges such as employing unqualified lecturers as well as promoting good will among themselves. For instance learning institution can learn from the Bankers Association of Zambia by forming up an organization that can address their interest and promote self regulation of the Universities and colleges. Such an organization can be used to monitor quality and performance of universities.

Learning institution should also network with the industry in order for the industry to get a good feedback from the industry. The industry should also channel information to relevant schools so that they could improve on their quality.

The notion of mocking and rejecting students from private universities in Zambia should come to an end because it will not help the Zambian education system. Besides, many of the children at these learning institutions are children from Zambia and not foreigners. So one day they will be our leaders therefore if we do not help them to have the best way of how they can educate our children.

So Zambia needs to do its best if its education has to go to higher heights.

Mr.Kelvin Esiasa is the President for Zambian Society for Public Administration and Society for Family Business.