Written by Joanna Hughes

Zambia’s government recently announced it plans to provide 1,000 scholarships to five additional public universities. The funds are the result of loan recoveries the ministry has been working on since September. Here’s a closer look at the development, as reported by The Zambian Observer.

More Support for More Students

According to the Ministry of Higher Education's public relations officer, Chiselwa Kawanda, 40 percent of the scholarships will be merit-based. Additionally, 30 percent will be designated for women, while an additional 30 percent will benefit applicants from rural communities.

The Patriotic Front of the Copperbelt applauded the announcement for diverting from its traditional inclination to offer education loans to students from just two universities. PF Copperbelt vice-chairman and Kitwe mayor Christopher Kang’ombe said, “With this decision, more students, totalling 1000, coming from poor families will have equal opportunities to get educated and acquire the qualifications to compete for employment opportunities in the job market.”

Toward An Improved Education System

Kang’ombe also heralded the government’s decision for being in line with the Patriotic Fund’s education objectives, “We promised better education from primary to tertiary level and increasing number of students loans is a fulfillment of this pledge,” he said.

The PB Manifesto has the goal of an “industrious, prosperous, peaceful, stable, united, democratic, and inclusive Zambia under One Zambia, One Nation."  Its priorities for higher education include giving colleges a “facelift” and expanding them to meet rising demand for teachers; increasing grants to colleges; ensuring that colleges are open to programs outside of teaching; ensuring colleges satisfy catchment area demands; and revising the National Education Policy and amending the 2011 Education Act.

The news adds to a wider push throughout Africa for universities to expand higher education in the continent.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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