*Contact* : UPND Deputy Secretary General of Administration , Getrude Imenda 0977774203/0977780397
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United Party for National Development (UPND)is saddened to learn that Zambia’s teacher-to-pupil ratio stands at a staggering one teacher to 80 pupils as availed by the latest Auditor General’s Report.
The UPND is worried that there has been a marginal reduction in the ratio from one teacher to 120 pupils in the past decade to one teacher per 80 pupils contrary to the ratio of one teacher to 5 pupils as recommended by the Ministry of General Education.
As a party that holds education to be the cornerstone and epitome of both social and economic progress for any given society, we find the ruling PF’s failure to invest in education to be detrimental to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (4) as well as the realisation of a country in 2030, fully inclusive of persons with disabilities.
We wonder how a country that scored highly on the attainment of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Number (8) in 2015 could experience a sharp slump towards the attainment of SDG 4.
This goal can only be realised when learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development due to lack of educational facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive as well as lack of safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environment.
We are also saddened to learn that the country has recorded a sharp reduction in the number of practicing special education teachers from 1,308 to 1,284.
We wonder how the PF, which we now know to be allergic to a well-informed, knowledgeable populace hopes to create a “strong, dynamic middle income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all, embodying values of social, economic justice”, as enshrined in the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP).
How will they do this when they have failed to ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education through their neglect and underfunding of the education sector?
How will the PF, a regime hell bent on creating endless by-elections through the buying of opposition councillors by stage managing defections in order to paint a populist picture of their dwindling political fortunes manage to make the achievement of literacy and numeracy by school going boys and girls?
We, therefore, wish to appeal to the PF to consider investing heavily in the education sector if the attainment of Vision 2030 is to be realized and to ensure that SDG4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote life long learning opportunities for all” does not remain an empty pronouncement and a cosmetic political tool for the ruling elite.
The PF government must realise that education is an investment and stop looking at it as a cost.
UPND MEDIA TEAM