Speech Read by the ZANEC Board Member Mrs. Christine Nabeba Mwasiti during the Advocacy Initiative Meeting on How to Sustain the Student Movement and uphold Academic Freedoms in Higher Learning Institutions in Zambia held on 28th December 2020

Speech Read by the ZANEC Board Member Mrs. Christine Nabeba Mwasiti during the Advocacy Initiative Meeting on How to Sustain the Student Movement and uphold Academic Freedoms in Higher Learning Institutions in Zambia held on 28th December 2020

 

The Members of Parliament from the Education, Science and Technology Parliamentary Committee

Ministry of Higher Education Representative

Zambia Qualifications Authority Representative

Higher Education Authority Representative

Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority Zambia Representative

Academicians from various universities present

Students from various universities present

ZANEC Board members present

ZANEC members present

Members of the Press

May I Simply say distinguished invited guests Ladies and Gentlemen, all Protocols Observed,

We are delighted as Zambia National Education Coalition to welcome you all to this Advocacy Initiative Meeting dubbed “How to Sustain the Student Movement and uphold Academic Freedom in Higher Learning Institutions in Zambia”. Your presence shows how you value education in our higher learning institutions and we appreciate that as an organisation.

The meeting has been initiated because as ZANEC we want to see higher learning institutions that promote, respect and observe the tenets of academic freedoms. This is because Academic freedoms are necessary for the academics and academic institutions to engage in deeper enquiry that can produce solutions to our social and economic problems. The non-observance of academic freedom is said to have a direct effect on the quality of education as well as research and it has an impact on society in the long term. AS you are aware, academic freedoms are rights that lecturers and students have to teach, study and pursue knowledge and research without unreasonable interference or restriction from law, institutional regulation or public pressure.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It has been observed that students suffer the most when there is unrest in institutions of higher learning. In some instances, universities in our country have even banned student unions. Furthermore, when riots occur, a lot of innocent students are expelled or suspended. Worse still, there is no clear law that safeguards the rights of student union leaders in this country.

Therefore, this meeting shall seek to find means and ways of addressing student intimidation and non-observance of academic freedoms.   We are hopeful that we shall, through the review of the different legislation make proposals on how we can address the gaps in the existing laws.

Furthermore, the aim of this meeting is to advocate for the protection of student union leaders and lecturers from harassment by management in their institutions. Furthermore, this meeting will raise awareness on the need to uphold and recognize student academic freedom in order to promote inclusive and equitable access to tertiary education as provided for in the Sustainable Development Goal number 4.

Tertiary and Higher Education are key to ensure that the labour force responds to the needs of the economy and ultimately contributes to National Development. ZANEC will therefore continue to advocate that the quality of education offered in these institutions create a thriving environment for lecturers and students as a whole.

Ladies and Gentlemen

ZANEC is excited to inform you our distinguished guests that this meeting is being held in partnership with Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) at regional level through a project dubbed “Student Academic Freedom Regional Advocacy Program (SAFRAP)”, whose main aim is to create an inclusive environment within which students can participate in the governance and pursuit of inclusive, equitable and quality higher and tertiary education. We therefore, take this opportunity to appreciate YETT for making funds available to hold this meeting.

Finally, I urge all of us to participate fully in the deliberations of this meeting.

I thank you and God bless you all.

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