Reopen Universities in Zambia Government asked.
PRESS STATEMENT 08TH FEBRUARY, 2016
AN APPEAL TO REOPEN THE TWO HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS (UNZA AND CBU)
The University of Zambia Postgraduate Students Association (UNZAPOGRASA) wishes to first commend the government through the Ministry of Higher Education for allowing the postgraduate students at both the University of Zambia and the Copperbelt University to continue with our studies after the unfortunate closure of the two higher learning institutions in the country. This will enable us to continue with our research and course work and complete our programmes on time.
As postgraduate students we also wish to appeal to the Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Dr Michael Kaingu to consider reopening the two higher learning institutions which were closed due to the riotous behaviour by the students. In doing so, we are alive to the fact that riotous behaviour should never be condoned by anyone in the country. We condemn it in the strongest sense. Our appeal comes in the work of a realisation of a number of implications if the two institutions were to remain closed for a longer time.
SOME OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF A PROLONGED CLOSURE
1. The life of the university is dependent on the presence of the students. A number of activities in the university are halted during such closures.
2. The academic calendar is affected leading to delayed completion of programmes. This means that students who should have joined the labour market after graduation are delayed. Even those students who are supposed to enter these institutions in future will be delayed.
3. Economically most of the small scale business people who depend on students, such as those involved in restaurants, printing and photocopying, selling of vegetable, groceries, boarding houses and transport among others are gravely affected as their businesses can no longer be sustainable. This can possibly throw them into untold poverty.
4. Most of the students who are not accommodated on campus have already paid their rentals for the whole term. It is not likely that their landlords may extend their rentals to other months. This would mean that they will have lost out.
These are just some of the implications which may arise from a prolonged closure of the institutions.
RECOMMENDATIONS GOING FORWARD
At this particular time, being an election year, as postgraduate students we recommend that the following measures be put in place to curb the riotous behaviour among students.
1. All possible cause of demonstrations in higher learning institutions should be addressed. These include late payment of allowances and work stoppages by lecturers among others.
2. Security in higher learning institutions should be tightened in such a way that perpetrators of and preparations for demonstrations should be quickly identified and necessary action taken before the riots erupt. This is because a majority of students are never involved in riots but they end up being affected as well.
3. All necessary communications to students, especially concerning bursaries, should be done on time to enable students plan accordingly.
4. Student leaders should continuously engage in dialogue with relevant authorities to avoid speculations.
We hope and trust that the minister will understand our plea and reopen the two learning institutions.
Lackson Lungu: Secretary General – UNZAPOGRASA Contacts 0979450752 or 0955518107