The Higher Education Authority (HEA) on Tuesday, 21st August, 2018, facilitated the Ministry of Higher Education’s (MoHE) Southern Region Validation Workshop for the Draft Higher Education Policy.
Following the creation of MoHE, there has been a need to develop a Higher Education Policy and, as such, over the past six (6) months, MoHE has been working with stakeholders to develop the Draft Policy through consultations with stakeholders in Lusaka, Ndola and Kasama who came from all the Provinces of Zambia.
Thus, the Workshop, which was held at Mulungushi University, constituted the first of two (2) meetings that will be held with stakeholders to subject the Draft Policy to validation by stakeholders. The Validation Workshops seek to review the Draft Policy in terms of content, phrases and gaps, and, after the Workshops, adopt the Draft Policy subject to any amendments.
The Draft Policy will then be submitted to Cabinet Office for final approval.
Speaking during the Workshop, MoHE Permanent Secretary, Mr. Mabvuto Sakala, expressed great delight at the wide participation of stakeholders at the Workshop, adding that this gave the Government indication of how seriously the stakeholders in Higher Education were taking the importance of having a Higher Education Policy.
Mr. Sakala thanked the stakeholders for the immense constructive criticism that they had offered during the Workshop.
“I want to emphasise that we are still in a consultative process and this Workshop should not represent the last of the submissions that you (the stakeholders) should make, but if you feel there are more submission you need to make, the Ministry is open to receive those submissions until the very last minute when we compile the submissions to Cabinet,” Mr. Sakala said.
The Mulungushi University Workshop consisted participants from Central, Eastern, Lusaka, Southern and Western Provinces of Zambia.
Speaking during his presentation to the Workshop, MoHE Acting Director Planning and Development, Mr. Succeed Mubanga, emphasised that the Draft Higher Education Policy was necessitated by the Government’s efforts to providing access to learning places. He noted that this access continued to be a challenge due to inadequate access to Higher Education which has been manifested in the high demand for Higher Education in Zambia.
“The Ministry’s core mandate is to provide management and support services through ensuring access, quality and equity in University Education and Technical Education and Vocational Training, and the promotion and application of Science Technology and Innovation,” he said.
Mr. Mubanga stated that the Higher Education Policy would, thus, increase the number of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Zambia and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness with which they provide services, thus, overall, improving Higher Education in Zambia.
The Acting Director Planning and Development stated that the strategic objectives that the Draft Policy addressed included enhancing quality and relevance in the provision of Higher Education, increasing equitable access and participation to quality Higher Education, and enhancing equity and inclusion in Higher Education.
He further added that also addressed in the Draft Policy was enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of Higher Education, promoting alternative sources for financing Higher Education, and enhancing career development support to students.
“Enhancing Access and Participation still remains of vital importance to the Government. Even though statistics show that there has been a 24.6% increase in enrolments from 75, 520 in 2016 to 94, 092 students in 2017 with 44, 454 (47.6%) being female, access to Higher Education still remains low with about 12% absorption of school leavers,” Mr. Mubanga stated.
The Acting Director further added that with regards to enhancing quality and relevance in the provision of Higher Education, despite strides being made in lecturer skill upgrading, curriculum review, equipment upgrades, and regulatory and quality assurance, there were still challenges in quality and relevance which exhibited themselves through poor linkages with industry and research institutions, inadequacies in the legal framework, and inadequate academic staff.
Join us in our next Newsletter as we breakdown the Draft Higher Education Policy.
The second validation workshop will be held in today, 24th August, 2018, in Ndola and will comprise participants from Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga, North Western and Northern Provinces.
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This article was written on 23rd August, 2018, by Birbal Boniface Musoba, Corporate Communications Officer.