Monday, July 22, 2013

NGO urges govt to improve education in community schools
By Jonathan Mukuka in Mafinga
Tue 09 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

REFORMED Open Community Schools board chairperson Bizeck Phiri has urged the government to do more to improve learning and teaching in community schools.

During the launch of Community Education: The Engine for Sustainable Development Project funded by the European Union through Red Een Kind (REK) in Mafinga district on Sunday, Prof Phiri in a speech read for him by board member Abigail Tuchili, said that the government should consider sending more trained teachers to community schools, provide more desks, text books and improve infrastructure.

He said these were some of the critical needs which government could provide.

Prof Phiri said that he was optimistic that his organisation would work together with the government and other stakeholders to address issues affecting the provision of quality basic education in the communities.
He added that the initiative of ROCS to support 30 community schools in both Mafinga and Chama districts should bring all stakeholders together because there was need to pull and pool the energies, synergies and resources together to enhance the impact.

"We need to develop joint collaborative relationships and processes with each other to achieve and propagate a common agenda which will cascade and permeate into lower level advocacy actions generated from the various contours and ridges leading to empowerment and transformation," said Prof Phiri.

He said meaningful development would only be achieved with the participation of all stakeholders, with the government providing policy direction accompanied by resources necessary to uplift living standards of the people.

ROCS is targeting to support a total of 30 community schools and 30,000 community members in its Engine project in both Mafinga and Chama districts in three and half years.

Prof Phiri said ROCS would engage key stakeholders, government inclusive, to strengthen linkages that would deliver sustainable development in the community schools.

Muchinga Province education officer Jobbicks Kalumba assured ROCS of government support in realising its dreams of promoting sustainable development.

Kalumba said that the intervention by the project was in line with the government policies and would contribute both directly and indirectly to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Kalumba added that the Engine Project amplifies the vision and ission of the Ministry of Education, which is to provide equitably accessible education and skills training opportunities for sustainable livelihood and development.

He added that the project is a clear example of Private-Public Partnership that the Zambian government was encouraging for the attainment of sustainable development.

And chief Mwenechifungwe of the Fungwe people of Thendele commended ROCS for extending its support to Mafinga district.

Mafinga district commissioner Christine Nakanyika pledged government's full support to the project and appealed to the beneficiary communities to ensure that they work together with the organisation in the promotion of sustainable development.

Nakanyika also appealed to the school-going children not to rush into marriages.

ROCS is an initiative of the Reformed Church in Zambia established in 1997 to support community schools especially in rural Zambia.

ROCS is currently supporting 65 community schools with more than 16,000 children benefiting from a number of education projects.

The objective of ROCS is to contribute to human development by improving access to quality education and empowering communities to mobilise additional resources.

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