By ALICE NACHILEMBE
National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) says the effects of free education policy if not well managed would have a serious short term, and long term educational scars in Zambia.
NAQEZ Executive Director Aaron Chansa said while the international community and the whole nation commend the New Dawn Government for free education but overcrowding in classes across the country has threatened the essence of attending school.
Mr Chansa said the schools and teachers are now stunned and overwhelmed beyond measure.
He said the overwhelming response to the free education policy, mostly by the poor citizens, is making the teacher/ pupil ratios in classes much unhealthier, creating uncharacteristic environments for teaching and learning.
Mr Chansa said before free education policy, the public education sector had a shortage of more than 1.3 million desks.
“Today the need for desks has become a national emergency, scene of learners sitting on the floor whilst learning is disturbing” he said.
He said the entire Africa is waiting to see how Zambia shall deliver the free education to its people.
“Out of the K2.1 billion appropriated for schools in 2022, NAQEZ pleads with the Ministry of Finance to release more money, especially for those schools which have received inadequate funds for term one. It is not enough to release only K324 million for the first term .Some schools will literally fail to run this term,” he said.
Mr Chansa has appealed for Government to urgently make CDF available to communities so that part of this fund can be used to buy desks, expansion of classroom spaces and construction of houses for teachers.
He said NAQEZ appeals to all Zambians not to be happy about free education only, they need to demand for free quality education, and this is because poorly educated people are very dangerous to society.