The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) would like to express its profound gratitude to Government through the Higher Education Loans and Scholarship Board on the awarding of additional 2,780 student loan scholarships to University of Zambia (UNZA) first year students for the 2021/2022 academic year. We would like to specifically thank the Minister of Education Honourable Douglas Syakalima for securing this additional funding from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. This positive development means that over 5000 first year students at UNZA have so far been granted loan scholarships, the highest number recorded since the operationalisation of the scheme.
Further, we note that the Board has followed the affirmative action for prioritising rural and female applicants who have received 30% of the scholarships each. It is also gratifying that all applicants with disabilities were awarded scholarships in the first selection. This will go a long way in promoting equity at tertiary education level, in line with the nation’s aspirations of leaving no one behind. As ZANEC, we look forward to a situation where there will be an equal share of the available resources allocated to both males and female applicants between the eligible rural and urban applicants. The distribution of the recently awarded scholarships in which 45% of rural and 55% of urban applicants received scholarships, representing 63% males and 37% females is positive as it shows that the gender gap is slowly closing up.
ZANEC is very hopeful that government will continue to prioritize investment in all the levels of education in order to accord every eligible learner an opportunity to access quality higher education. Finally, we call upon loan beneficiaries who have completed school and are now earning an income to begin paying back their loans so that more students can benefit.
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