HEA Bemoans Gender Disparity in Higher Education Personnel

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has bemoaned the alarming gender statistics of female underrepresentation among academic staff at universities in both private and public universities.

Speaking during the launch of the State of Higher Education in Zambia 2019: 5 Decades of University Education, HEA Director General, Professor Stephen Simukanga, stated that the data collected for the Report showed that male staff dominated in all ranks in universities.

“The vital statistics (collected about the higher education sector) included data on academic staff in the sector by qualification and gender, and by rank and gender,” Professor Simukanga said, continuing, “however, the alarming statistic showed that, in terms of gender, male staff dominated in all ranks. specifically, male Professors were 92% of academic staff at Professor level.”

Professor Simukanga further stated that the same trend that was seen at all levels, with women being grossly underrepresented: female Associate Professors were only 12%; female Senior Lecturers were only 21%; and, female Lecturers were only 27%.

(L-R) Mr. Mubanga, Prof. Simukanga and Dr. Mushimba seated at the high table.

Delving deeper into academic ranks, the Director General pointed out that since the liberalisation of Zambia’s higher education sector in 1992, the country had operated without a harmonised academic ranking system and a general promotion criterion that espouses the expectations of society and other actors of Zambian academics in terms of research, teaching and community service.

“Consequently, most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) either do not have an academic ranking system or have adopted systems that are not in line with acceptable international best practices,” Professor Simukanga said.

He further stated that, in order to address this gap in Zambia’s higher education system, HEA had adopted a national academic ranks classification system, which was validated at a meeting attended by Vice-Chancellors and registrars of both public and private universities but is yet to be gazetted.

Prof. Simukanga (L) shares a light moment after the successful launch of the State of Higher Education Report in Zambia 2019, with UNILUS Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Pinalo Chifwanakeni (R), Prof. Mumba (Back to Camera), ZAOU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Richard Siachiwena (Far Left), and HEA Acting Director – Quality Assurance, Dr. Orleans Mfune.

The State of Higher Education in Zambia 2019: 5 Decades of University Education is the first comprehensive report on higher education in Zambia. It is prescribed in HEA’s mandated through the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013 Part ii section 6 (2) (b) (ii) that the Authority shall cause to be published an Annual Report on the State of Higher Education in Zambia.

The inaugural Report examined the major developments in the higher education sector since independence, detailing in depth the legal reforms that the sector has undergone, from initially, the University of Zambia Act of 1965, which established the University of Zambia (UNZA) as the first and only university in Zambia, all the way to the current Higher Education Act No. 4 Of 2013, under which the Republic of Zambia has nine (9) public HEIs and 55 private HEIs with 65 collective private campuses as 9 of the private HEIs have multiple campuses.

Get your free copy of the Report by downloading the State of Higher Education Report in Zambia 2019: 5 Decades of University Education here.

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