The 81 Member Organizations of the Zambia National Educational Coalition (ZANEC) would like to express their disappointment over the continued neglect of the education sector by government as demonstrated by the Ministers of Finance since 2016 by continuously reducing the budgetary allocation to the education and skills sector. The last four Ministers of Finance have collectively reduced the share of the education budget from 20.2% in 2015 to the recently announced 11.5% for 2021, representing a 46.3% reduction in the last five years. Further, the Coalition observes that the K13.8 billion allocation is lower than last year’s budget when one considers the sharp rise in the inflation rate in last one year. By neglecting education, the four Ministers of Finance have championed the deteriorating education standards in our education system.
In light of the COVID 19 pandemic which resulted in the long closure of schools, it was the Coalitions expectation that the budget would plan to address the repercussions of the closure. The failure for the 2021 Education and Skills Sector budget to allocate enough resources to remediate the loss of learning during the COVID 19 period demonstrates the government’s lack of political will to mitigate the looming education quality crisis.
ZANEC further hopes that government will prioritize the disbursement of the ZMW 2.3 billion allocated to social cash transfer to vulnerable households with learners who have difficulties to pay school fees to mitigate the impact of COVID- 19.
The Coalition has observed that the current budget highlights missed the opportunity for transforming our education system which is currently experiencing a quality crisis. As a result, the budget has failed to provide the required financing for the education and skills sector to achieve most of the targets provided for in the 7th National Development Plan, vision 2030 and the Education and Skills Sector Plan.