Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Govt urges change in financing of tertiary skills training model
By Dziko Joe Mwanza
Wed 24 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

The government has urged a change to the model of financing of tertiary skills training in Zambia from the current predominantly state-funded model to a private sector-driven one.

Giving a keynote speech on Wednesday at the launch of a book on insurance literacy, Basics of Insurance: A Zambian experience, authoured by Professional Insurance Corporation Ndola branch head Webster Twaambo, Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Education, and Early Education permanent secretary Dr Patrick Nkanza reiterated his government's willingness to partner with the private sector in the provision of tertiary education.

"World-over, skills training is largely private sector-driven.
Companies see the value in funding training institutions to provide their trained labour. In the SADC region, vocational education is largely funded by the private sector, with government playing a regulatory role. It is only this side where our tertiary education is still public sector-driven. I was looking at a Korean case; 80 per cent is private sector-funded, only 20 per cent is public-funded. We must grow beyond public sector funding of education. Zambia is one isolated case where skills training is public sector-funded. This over-reliance on public sector funding for skills training is a problem; we must diversify," he said.

Dr Nkanza also lamented the state of Zambia Insurance Business College Trust, the sole insurance college which he said had suffered from neglect.

"At tertiary level, the Zambia Insurance Business College Trust (ZIBCT), which is the only one that provides intermediate training, evolved out of the wishes of the industry. When one looks at it today, one sees an institute that has been allowed to drift to ruin I do not see why an organisation set up by the industry can be allowed to drift to ruin. I therefore challenge all industry players to look into the state of the institution," Dr Nkanza said.

In Zambia, through grants, the state funds most state universities, trade schools and colleges.

At the same occasion, Dr Nkanza said that his government was considering reviewing the primary and secondary school curriculum so that it provides for two streams; one for vocational education and the other for academic education.

"There is development of a grade 8 to 12 curriculum; there will be an academic part and a vocational path. This will require a curriculum reform which this book we are launching will contribute to," he said.

Dr Nkanza further cited lack of skills training for the low levels of youth unemployment.

"When we ask the labour experts, they tell us they can't find people with the skills employers are looking for; the rate of employment is lower than the rate of economic growth. This book will help equip young people with skills in a key industry like insurance," said Dr Nkanza

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