Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zambia’s education progression rate is too low - Dr Beyani

Zambia’s education progression rate is too low - Dr Beyani
By Henry Sinyangwe
Thu 11 Mar. 2010, 08:10 CAT

UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) history lecturer Dr Choolwe Beyani has said Zambia lacks skills to develop the nation because education progression rate is too low. In an interview, Dr Beyani said Zambia would not have the skills to develop the nation in time with the vision 2030 because the standards of education were low.

“Over 300,000 pupils enter Grade 1, by Grade 5, half of the pupils drop out. This is due to lack of motivation, long distances to schools and space,” Dr Beyani said. “And the progression rates from grade nine to 10, over 20 per cent of pupils are lost due to finance and lack of space in secondary schools and those who graduate at grade twelve are just a little over 50,000.”

And Dr Beyani said the situation was the same in higher learning institutions where the pass rate was under 50 per cent. He said the quality of education in Zambia was currently too low due to compromising objectives in improving delivery.

“The quality of education in the country is mediocre, total incompetence. We receive some students here UNZA who cannot even read and write due to corruption in the whole system,” Dr Beyani said.

“Therefore, we produce semi literate graduates with a pass rate of less than 50 per cent. Government is spending lots of money on thousands of students who are not mastering the skill, which is a bad sign of the state of affairs.”

Dr Beyani said the government should concentrate on solving the problems faced by the education sector rather than concentrating on campaigning.

And Dr Beyani has asked the Ministry of Education to release the report on the issues that were raised during the Indaba on education that was held in September last year.

“Since Dora Siliya education minister was made MMD spokesperson, she has put all the services to the ministry on hold,” he said.

“There was an Indaba last year in September by the Ministry of Education in which I was a consultant but I have never seen the report. People who participated as citizens expect feedback and updates on the way forward.”

And Dr Beyani urged the government to increase the number of recruitment of teachers because the teacher attrition rate was increasing. He said there was a need to balance the teacher to pupil ratio by recruiting more teachers so as to raise the education standards.

“The recruitment of 3,000 teachers will not solve the problem of shortage of teachers in the country,” Dr Beyani said.

“The number of teachers leaving their schools has been increasing for some time now so there has to be a balance.

According to the education statistical bulletin of 2008, over 11,000 teachers left various government schools due to various issues. Therefore 3,000 are too low.”

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