SPEECH READ BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, HONOURABLE DOUGLAS SYAKALIMA, MP, DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION (GAWE)

SPEECH READ BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, HONOURABLE DOUGLAS SYAKALIMA, MP, DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION (GAWE)

DEAR COUNTRY MEN AND WOMEN, YOUTH AND CHILDREN

IT IS A PRIVILEGE AND AN HONOUR TO LAUNCH THE 2022 GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION (GAWE).

THE GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION (GAWE) IS AN EVENT COORDINATED BY THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION (GCE) TO ENCOURAGE MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD TO ORGANIZE ACTIVITIES IN THEIR COUNTRIES TO REFLECT ON THE PROGRESS THAT HAS BEEN MADE TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS IN EDUCATION SUCH AS THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NUMBER 4 (SDG4). GAWE IS, THEREFORE, ONE OF THE MAJOR CAMPAIGNS FOR THE EDUCATION MOVEMENT.

 

THE 2022 GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION IS BEING COMMEMORATED UNDER THE THEME PROTECT EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES NOW!.  INDEED, IT IS IMPORTANT TO PROTECT AND SAFE GUARD EDUCATION AT ALL TIMES, INCLUDING IN EMERGENCIES SUCH AS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC WHICH HAS HIT THE WORLD AND HAS AFFECTED THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN AN UNMAGINABLE WAY. THIS IS BECAUSE LEARNING IS NO LONGER TAKING PLACE IN THE SAME WAY IT USED TO .

MY GOVERNMENT IS VERY MUCH AWARE THAT EDUCATION IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT WHICH SHOULD BE ACCESSED BY EVERYONE EVEN DURING EMERGENCIES SUCH AS THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC. AS A MINISTRY, WE ARE COGNISANT OF THE FACT THAT THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC HAS WORSENED THE ALREADY EXISTING INEQUALITIES IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR.  THEREFORE, THE MINISTRY IS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO  MITIGATE THESE INEQUALITIES SO THAT NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND.

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTH AND CHILDREN,

THE VISION OF MY GOVERNMENT IS TO ENSURE THAT EVERY CHILD IS PROVIDED WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO ACCESS EDUCATION FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD TO TERTIARY. THE ONSET OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC WAS AN EYE OPENER TO THE WORLD THAT INVESTMENT IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR IS A PRIORITY. THAT IS WHY MY GOVERNMENT IS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO ENSURE THAT THE ENVIRONMENT IN OUR SCHOOLS IS SAFE AND HEALTH FOR BOTH OUR LEARNERS AND TEACHERS.

 

 

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTH AND CHILDREN,

IN ORDER TO IMPROVE ACCESS AND FOSTER EQUALITY IN THE ACCESS TO EDUCATION, THE NEW DAWN GOVERNMENT INTRODUCED FREE EDUCATION FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD TO SECONDARY SCHOOL LEVEL. FURTHERMORE, EQUITY IN THE ACCESS TO EDUCATION IS BEING FOSTERED THROUGH THE PROVISION OF BURSARIES UNDER THE CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUND (CDF).  AS A GOVERNMENT, IT IS OUR DESIRE THAT THERE IS CONTINUITY OF LEARNING EVEN AMIDIST EMERGENCIES.

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTHS AND CHILDREN,

IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION THAT THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATION (GCE) MOVEMENT HAS JOINTLY DEVELOPED POLICY REQUESTS FOR THE CAMPAIGN DURING THIS YEAR’S GAWE. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE DEMANDS WHICH MY GOVERNMENT PLEDGES TO ADDRESS.

  1. PROTECT AND GUARANTEE THE FULFILLMENT OF THE RIGHT TO PUBLIC QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL IN-AMIDST COVID 19, BY PROVIDING EMPOWERING, SAFE, RESPECTFUL, INCLUSIVE AND ACCESSIBLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR ALL LEARNERS, REGARDLESS OF THEIR LEGAL STATUS, AGE, GENDER, DISABILITY, SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, ETHNICITY, RACE OR ANY OTHER FORM OF DISCRIMINATION AND EXCLUSION.
  2. DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT CRISIS-SENSITIVE NATIONAL EDUCATION PLANS AND BUDGETS, INTEGRATING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MEASURES INTO THE EDUCATION SECTOR PLANNING TO ENSURE THE FULFILLMENT OF THE RIGHT TO QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL.
  3. LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF THE PEOPLE AFFECTED AND THE LOCAL ACTORS (INCLUDING LOCAL CIVIL SOCIETY, TEACHER ORGANIZATIONS, CHILDREN AND YOUTH GROUPS, PARENTS AND COMMUNITIES), WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR CRUCIAL ROLE IN THE RESPONSE
  4. ENSURE SUFFICIENT, SUSTAINABLE AND PREDICTABLE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION AMIDST THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC, BY ALLOCATING AT LEAST 10% OF THE EDUCATION BUDGET TOWARDS MITIGATING THE IMPACT OF COVID 19, INCLUDING FULLY SUPPORTING THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION’S (GPE) EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT (ECW) REPLENISHMENT PROCESS
  5. ENSURE THAT GIRLS AND WOMEN HAVE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO FULFILL THEIR RIGHT TO EDUCATION IN EMERGENCY CONTEXTS AND APPLY A GENDER PERSPECTIVE IN THE PLANNING, BUDGETING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS.
  6. ENSURE THAT LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES HAVE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO FULFILL THEIR RIGHT TO EDUCATION IN EMERGENCY CONTEXTS AND APPLY AN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION PERSPECTIVE IN THE PLANNING, BUDGETING, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS;
  7. ENSURE THE AVAILABILITY OF ADEQUATELY TRAINED TEACHERS IN EMERGENCY CONTEXTS, BY IMPROVING THEIR REMUNERATION, INCENTIVES AND SUPPORT.
  8. ENDORSE AND IMPLEMENT THE SAFE SCHOOLS DECLARATION AND ENSURE THAT ALL LEARNERS AND EDUCATORS CAN LEARN AND TEACH IN SAFETY.

 

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTHS AND CHILDREN,

TAKING COGNISANCE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION IN ANY SOCIETY, ZAMBIA, THROUGH THE LEADERSHIP OF HIS EXCELLENCY MR HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, HAS SHOWN COMMITMENT TO PROMOTING EDUCATION AS A KEY SECTOR FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. THIS IS BECAUSE EDUCATION IS KEY IN PROVIDING PRODUCTIVE HUMAN CAPITAL THAT CONTRIBUTES SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE COUNTRY’S GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP).

MY GOVERNMENT IS, HOWEVER, AWARE THAT THERE ARE STILL SOME CHALLENGES BEING FACED IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR. THESE INCLUDE INADEQUATE LEARNING AND TEACHING MATERIALS ESPECIALLY FOR LEARNERS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS AND INADEQUATE CLASSROOM SPACE, DESKS, AND BOARDING FACILITIES FOR OUR LEARNERS, ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS. WORSE STILL, THE ADVENT OF THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC HAS ALSO ADDED MORE CHALLENGES TO THE SECTOR ESPECIALLY WITH REGARDS TO ACCESS TO ALTERNATIVE MODES OF EDUCATION PROVISION.

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTH AND CHILDREN,

IN ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES THAT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IS FACING, THE NEW DAWN GOVERNMENT HAS DECENTRALISED ACCESS TO CDF AND FURTHER INCREASED IT FROM 1.6 MILLION TO 25.7 MILLION.  THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO GIVEN THE MANDATE TO COMMUNITIES TO MAKE DECISIONS ON DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDAS SUCH AS THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS THEY WANT TO CONSTRUCT IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, AMONG OTHER THINGS.

FURTHERMORE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS SCALED UP THE PROCUREMENT OF TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS, EXPANSION OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND FORMULATION OF PROGRESSIVE POLICIES THAT FAVOUR ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL.  THE MINISTRY ALSO ENSURED THAT THE SCHOOL GRANTS WERE RECEIVED ON TIME IN OUR SCHOOLS TO FACILITATE FOR THE SMOOTH OPERATIONALISATION OF THE FREE EDUCATION POLICY AND THE PURCHASE OF COVID 19 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENTS.

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTH AND CHILDREN,

DESPITE THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF   THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC ON THE EDUCATION SECTOR, MY GOVERNMENT HAS COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT LEARNING CONTINUES IN SCHOOLS. THIS HAS BEEN DONE BY ENCOURAGING OUR TEACHERS AND LEARNERS TO DILIGENTLY OBSERVE ALL THE COVID 19 PREVENTION PROTOCOLS INCLUDING TAKING UP THE VACCINES.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT, ZAMBIA IS ONE OF THE COUNTRIES THAT HAS MANAGED TO MAINTAIN THE SCHOOL CALENDAR INSPITE OF THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC. THIS IS BECAUSE AS GOVERNMENT, WE ARE AWARE THAT INDEED EDUCATION SHOULD CONTINUE EVEN AMIDST CALAMITIES. THE GOVERNMENT IS ALSO WORKING TOWARDS ENSURING THAT THE ALTERNATIVE MODES OF LEARNING ARE BEING ACCESSED BY EVERYONE ESPECIALLY FOR LEARNERS IN THE RURAL AREAS AND THOSE WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS.

COUNTRY MEN, WOMEN, YOUTH AND CHILDREN,

THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IS PLEASED TO NOTE THAT IN ZAMBIA, THE ZAMBIA NATIONAL EDUCATION COALITION (ZANEC) TAKES THE LEAD TO COORDINATE THIS ANNUAL EVENT. THE COMMITMENT SHOWN BY ZANEC IN COORDINATING THIS GLOBAL EVENT WHILE WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE MINISTRY, DEPICTS A TRUE REFLECTION OF THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS BETWEEN CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AND THE GOVERNMENT TOWARDS THE PROMOTION OF QUALITY EDUCATION FOR EVERY ZAMBIAN.

WE ARE GRATEFUL TO ALL OUR COOPERATING PARTNERS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS SUCH AS THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION (GPE), DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (DFID), GIZ, IRISH AID, JICA, UNICEF, SAVE THE CHILDREN, WORLD BANK AND ZANEC TO NAME BUT A FEW, WHO ARE WORKING WITH THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN THE PROVISION AND PROMOTION OF QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL ZAMBIANS.

FINALLY, I URGE YOU ALL TO TAKE KEEN INTEREST AND PARTICIPATE IN THE VARIOUS MEDIA PROGRAMMES THAT WILL BE RUNNING DURING THE WEEK.

I HEREBY OFFICIALLY LAUNCH THE 2022 GLOBAL ACTION WEEK FOR EDUCATION, WHICH RUNS FROM MONDAY 25TH APRIL TO FRIDAY 29TH APIRL, 2022.

MAY GOD BLESS OUR BELOVED COUNTRY ZAMBIA.

I THANK YOU.

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