SPEECH READ BY ZANEC BOARD SECRETARY MR ROBERT SHULA DURING THE GAWE SDG STAKEHOLDER MEETING ON 30TH APRIL 2021

SPEECH READ BY ZANEC BOARD SECRETARY MR ROBERT SHULA DURING THE GAWE SDG STAKEHOLDER MEETING ON 30TH APRIL 2021

MINISTRY OF GENERAL EDUCATION PERMANENT SECRETARY AND OFFICIALS;

MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION OFFICIALS;

MINISTRY OF MINES REPRESENTATIVE;

MINISTRY OF FINANCE REPRESENTATIVE

MINISTRY OF NATIONAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVE

LUSAKA CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE

COOPERATING PARTNERS RESENT

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS PRESENT

ZANEC MEMBERS, BOARD AND STAFF PRESENT

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

 

IT IS MY PRIVILEGE AND HONOUR TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO THIS STAKEHOLDERS MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGS), WHICH FOCUSES ON THE THEME OF THE 2021 GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION “MORE AND BETTER FINANCING FOR EDUCATION”.   ZANEC IS GRATEFUL FOR YOU ALL WHO ARE PRESENT IN THIS MEETING AS THIS IS AN INDICATION OF HOW MUCH YOU VALUE EDUCATION.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

GAWE IS AN EVENT ORGANIZED BY THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION (GCE) TO ENCOURAGE MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD TO SUPPORT THE DEMAND FOR FREE, PUBLIC, QUALITY AND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR ALL. CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (CSOS) WHO ARE MEMBERS OF GCE IN EACH COUNTRY ORGANIZE ACTIVITIES IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY TO REMIND THEIR GOVERNMENTS TO KEEP THE PROMISES THEY MADE. AM EXCITED TO INFORM THE MEETING THAT IN ZAMBIA, GAWE IS LED BY ZANEC WHICH IS A MEMBER OF THE GCE.

INDEED, THERE IS NEED FOR INCREASED FINANCING TO THE EDUCATION SECTOR AS THE CURRENT BUDGET ALLOCATIONS LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED. THE CURRENT 11.5% ALLOCATION IS TOO LOW TO MEET THE NEEDS OF QUALITY PROVISION AS WELL AS ACCESS BY EVERYONE ELIGIBLE TO BE IN SCHOOL.

UNFORTUNATELY FOR ZAMBIA, THE SHARE OF THE EDUCATION BUDGET HAS DROPPED IN THE LAST SIX YEARS FROM 20.3% IN 2015 TO 11.5% IN 2021. THE REDUCTION IN THE EDUCATION BUDGET NOTWITHSTANDING, THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION AT ALL LEVELS HAS ALSO EXPERIENCED A STEADY DECLINE OVER THE LAST DECADE. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO MENTION THAT THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC HAS ALSO AFFECTED THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN THAT LEARNING IS NO LONGER TAKING PLACE THE WAY IT USED TO. FOR INSTANCE, THE NEED FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING IN SCHOOLS HAS LED TO MULTIPLE SHIFTS THEREBY REDUCING LEARNING HOURS.  THIS ALSO CALLS FOR MORE CLASSROOMS TO BE BUILT TO ALLOW FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING. SIMILARLY, THE REACH FOR ALTERNATIVE MODES OF EDUCATION PROVISION INVOLVING RADIO, TELEVISION AND E-LEARNING HAS REMAINED LOW. THESE CHANGES HAVE MADE EDUCATION EVEN MORE COSTLY.

THEREFORE, AS ZANEC WE CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT TO CONSIDER INCREASING THE 2022 EDUCATION BUDGET FROM THE CURRENT 11.5% TO AT LEAST 20% IN LINE WITH THE COMMITMENTS THE COUNTRY HAS MADE THROUGH THE SADC AND CAIRO PROTOCOLS ON EDUCATION.

ADDITIONALLY, BECAUSE OF THE COVD 19 PANDEMIC, THERE ARE STILL AROUND 260 MILLION OUT-OF-SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE WORLD. A LOT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF OUT OF SCHOOL CHILDREN IN OUR COUNTRY IF WE ARE EVER GOING TO MEET THE SDG 4 AS A COUNTRY. THEREFORE, ADEQUATE FINANCING IS A MUST.  THERE IS NEED TO RAISE AWARENESS AND RESOURCES FOR THE NEED TO SPEED UP THE INTERVENTIONS TO REDUCE THE IMPACT THE COVID 19 HAS CAUSED ON OUR LEARNERS.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION THAT THE GCE MOVEMENT HAS JOINTLY DEVELOPED A POLICY CALL TO ACTION FOR THE CAMPAIGN AND GAWE WILL WORK TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS AS SET OUT IN THAT DOCUMENT, FROM WHICH THE TOPLINE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOVERNMENTS ARE TO:

  • INCREASE STATE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION TO 20% OF PUBLIC EXPENDITURE.
  • INCREASE THE TAX BASE IN ORDER TO INCREASE RESOURCES, WORKING TOWARDS A MINIMUM TAX-TO-GDP RATIO OF 20%.
  • ENABLE URGENT DEBT CANCELLATION FOR THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; AND DEBT ALLEVIATION FOR MIDDLE AND UPPER-MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES.
  • ENSURE INCLUSIVE EDUCATION SYSTEMS THROUGH EQUITABLE FINANCING AND PROGRAMMES THAT PRIORITISES THE MOST MARGINALISED.
  • PROVIDE FREE QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL AND END THE TREND TOWARDS THE PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION.
  • IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF TEACHING THROUGH ADEQUATE RECRUITMENT, DEPLOYMENT, REMUNERATION AND CONTINUED TEACHER TRAINING.
  • LISTEN AND RESPOND TO THE VOICES OF THOSE AFFECTED. SPACE MUST BE ALLOWED FOR INDIVIDUALS AND CIVIL SOCIETY TO SPEAK UP.
  • DEVELOPED COUNTRIES MUST CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARDS THE GOAL OF 0.7% OVERSEAS AID, WITH 20% OF THIS SPENT ON EDUCATION, AND INCREASING THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION AND EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT.

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

THIS MEETING WILL HAVE THREE PRESENTATIONS THAT WILL HELP US DELIBERATE FROM AN INFORMED PERSPECTIVE ON HOW WE ARE DOING IN TERMS OF MEETING THE TARGETS SET IN THE SDG 4 FROM BOTH THE GOVERNMENT AND CSOS. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE DETAILED PRESENTATIONS THAT WILL BE MADE TODAY:

  • ZAMBIA’S SNAP SHOT PERFORMANCE ON SDG 4 – GOVERNMENT PERSPECTIVE
  • ZAMBIA’S SNAP SHOT PERFORMANCE ON SDG 4 – CIVIL SOCIETY PERSPECTIVE
  • THE CASE FOR PUBLIC FINANCING FOR EDUCATION

THEREFORE, I URGE ALL OF US HERE PRESENT TO PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY IN THE DELIBERATIONS OF THIS MEETING AS YOUR VALUABLE INPUT WILL GO A LONG WAY IN BETTERING THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN OUR COUNTRY.

 

I THANK AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL

 

 

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