Saturday, February 22, 2014

Support students for higher education - Lungwangwa

By Allan Mulenga
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PROFESSOR Geoffrey Lungwangwa says the economic growth the country is experiencing should result into increased support to students pursuing higher education.

Commenting on education deputy minister Professor Nevelyn Wilombe's statement that financial constraint has denied a lot of young people an opportunity to attain higher education, Prof Lungwangwa, who is a former education minister in the MMD government, said the government needed to perceive tertiary education as a long term investment which yields high returns.

"There should a realisation that investment in education is a long term investment; it pays highly; the benefits are much higher for society ultimately. What we see as economic development in the tiger nation like Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, those were investments which were made in education 30 years ago. They are now reflected in the higher benefits of economic boom for the nations because human resource is necessary for economic development," he said.

"Even in our country, the investment we are looking at now in tertiary education will have greater benefits to our society, 20, 30 years from now."

Prof Lungwangwa urged the leadership to change its perception towards higher education by increasing budgetary allocation towards the education sector.

"It requires change of mindset on the part of the leadership as a whole that education bears very high levels of returns to society eventually. This entails that there should be more allocation of resources from the national budget to support students entering tertiary level education," he said.

"The economy now is doing well; it is registering positive economic growth and that should be manifested in a higher level of support to students in tertiary education. There should be a realisation on the part of the leadership, especially those in the Ministry of Finance."

Prof Lungwangwa said the economic boom should be translated into increasing students' bursaries and scholarships in higher education.

"Now, the economy has been improving since 2002, we have been registering positive economic growth, which means that there should be a concerted effort on the part of the government to support higher education," he said.

"This means that there should be more resources going towards students' bursaries and scholarships so that more and more students should be able to access bursaries and also scholarships, including students' loans. There should be a mix on bursaries, students' loans and scholarships."

Prof Lungwangwa said bursaries scheme should strictly be awarded to vulnerable students.


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