The Guest of Honour The Minister of Education Honorable Douglas Syakalima MP

Officials from Government Ministries Present

The Head of Office UNESCO Zambia

Cooperating Partners Present

Representatives of Civil Society Organisations

Learners and Teachers Present

Members of the Press


May I simply say Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s my singular honour to stand before you and deliver this speech on behalf of Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC). For those of you who may not be aware, ZANEC is a Coalition of non-state actors working in the Education and Skills Sector. The organisation is involved in research, advocacy and member capacity building on different aspects of the Education and Skills Sector in Zambia. ZANEC members comprise of Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Teacher Trade Unions and Student Unions. The membership of ZANEC currently stands at 93 Member Organizations spread across the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are pleased to lead the 2023 Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) commemoration which started on Monday, 29th May, 2023 and is ending today Friday, 2nd June 2023. The GAWE is very important to us as a Coalition  because  it is an annual event that encourages millions around the world to reflect on the progress they have made towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4. GAWE provides national and regional education stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the progress Countries are making towards achieving SDG 4. .

The theme for the 2023 GAWE is “Investing in a just world: Decolonising education financing”.  Indeed this theme is progressives as it calls all countries and all partners to take concrete actions to invest more equitably and efficiently in education. This is because taxes are the most stable and reliable sources of domestic revenue available to countries. Taxation is therefore fundamental to state building and forms the foundation of the social contract between the state and citizens. Without taxation, there can be no viable state. We are also hopeful that the revision of the 2013 curriculum which is currently taking place will produce a curriculum that is decolonized and localized to answer to the real needs of the people in Zambia.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Furthermore, Domestic resource mobilization (DRM) through progressive taxation has proven to be the most sustainable and predictable source of revenue for all countries. In line with the theme for the GAWE “Decolonizing Education Financing”, we are calling for tax justice – shifting power to developing countries such as Zambia for a just world. We are aware that tax leakages have deprived Zambia of adequate resources to provide quality public services for all citizens. With the introduction of the “Free Education Policy from Early Childhood Education (ECE) to secondary education, Sustainable financing through domestic resource mobilisation for education is not only critical for the achievement of SDG 4, but can equally help reduce the need for external dependence and influence on our education agenda.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We also take this opportunity to thank government for accelerating the implementation of decentralization by increasing the Constituency Development Funds (CDF). We also commend government for giving 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. The recruitment of over 30, 000 teachers in 2022 and the planned recruitment of  4,500 teachers this year will represent a landmark achievement towards  improving the quality of our education system.  Furthermore, the increased funding towards the loans scholarship scheme and reintroduction of meal allowances for students in public universities is also progressive.

Ladies and Gentlemen

ZANEC also takes this opportunity to call upon the government through the Ministry of Education and education cooperating partners to urgently:

  • Localise education system that is decolonised and meets the real needs of the people in Zambia through Domestic Resource Mobilisation for home-grown solutions and decolonize Financing of Education.
  • Enhance advocacy for education to be available and accessible to all through adequate financing.
  • Decolonise Education Financing to invest adequate national resources for girls and marginalised children and youth in Zambia. Ensure that girls and women have equal opportunities to fulfil their right to education at all times regardless of the location and apply a gender perspective in the planning, budgeting and implementation.
  • It is important for our government to ensure that school buildings are accessible to children with physical disabilities; provide adequate teachers for training and support; flexible curriculum, and provide relevant materials like books and technologies for teaching learners with disabilities.
  • It is important to realise that inclusive education systems have the power to amplify the voices of children with disabilities so that they can be heard in decisions that affect their lives. Inclusive education systems can also help build capabilities and capacities of learners with disabilities to participate meaningfully in decision-making and in social, cultural, and economic development.
  • We are also hopeful that the revision of the 2013 curriculum which is currently taking place will produce a curriculum that is decolonized and localized to answer to the real needs of the people in Zambia. This is because the research study that ZANEC conducted last (2022) revealed that content and education approaches continue to reflect colonially bequeathed ways of knowing, which do not speak to society’s local needs and problems.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are also concerned that SDG 4 will not be realized by 2030 without a significant and well-targeted increase in domestic financing, particularly in countries like Zambia that are far from achieving quality education for all at all levels. The adherence to the international and regional benchmarks of allocating at least 4 – 6% of Gross Domestic Product and/or at least 15 – 20% of total public expenditure to education is very urgent.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As we come to the close of the GAWE 2023 ZANEC  we need to remember that the state cannot use Aid, Debt or PPP to transform education into the type of the education system we all want. Instead, domestic taxes or domestic resource mobilization is the hallmark of decolonization of education financing for developing countries. Therefore, without levying fair taxes, combating tax evasions, reducing illicit financial flows and fighting corruption, decolonising education financing will remain a daunting task.

I Thank You and May God Bless Zambia!

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