Thursday, August 12, 2010

Give access to university the highest priority – Chancellor

Give access to university the highest priority – Chancellor
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 15:10 CAT

UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) Chancellor Dr Jacob Mwanza has observed that there is a clear connection between access to higher education and economic development.

During the University’s 40th graduation ceremony held under the theme
'Increasing access and equity to university education: achievements and challenges over the years', Dr Mwanza said university education was key to the production of highly skilled human resources necessary for the development of the country.

He said it was obvious that access to university education should be given the highest priority.

“The University of Zambia is and shall remain committed to increasing access to university education. We look forward to a future where every deserving citizen shall be accorded an opportunity to access university education,” Dr Mwanza said.

He said equity was a key value that should be embraced by every society because it promoted a sense of belonging and was a fulcrum for stability and development.

He said UNZA had taken up the challenge of increasing access and equity to university education, in line with the world trend and the government policy.

“In pursuant of this, the university has undertaken various interventions which have culminated in an increase in enrolment and the number of graduates produced at the university. With regards to equity, the interventions have culminated in a progressive increase in the percentage of female students and rural-based students at the university,” said Dr Mwanza.

And UNZA Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga said one of the major challenges facing the university was limited infrastructure.

Prof Simukanga said while student enrolment had increased over a period of time, the increase had not been matched with a corresponding increase in infrastructure.

“For example, the capacity of our lecture theatres can no longer accommodate the increased number of students and sitting capacity in the library is no longer adequate. Moreover, student accommodation is inadequate. Currently the university has a total of 3,432 bed spaces for approximately 10,000 students enrolled on full-time basis,” he said.

Prof Simukanga also revealed that the university was in the process of developing a programme that would enable teachers holding diploma certificates access university education and that approximately 6,500 teachers would be enrolled under the programme.

And in a vote of thanks, former UNZASU president Duncan Nyirongo said the problem of unemployment among graduates had reached alarming levels, with most graduates trotting from one place to another in search of jobs.

Nyirongo said the graduates found it selfish for the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) to have increased the age of retirement from the public service from the current 55 years to 60 years.

“How do you increase the retirement age when the nation’s life expectancy has reduced and the youth unemployment levels are skyrocketing? We call upon members of the NCC to take advantage of the process that is still under way to correct such misplacements,” said Nyirongo.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home