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Govt urged to increase educational budgetary allocation

Stakeholders in the education sector have called on government to increase educational budgetary allocation in the 2024 National Budget.

National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) Executive Director Aaron Chansa, said that with the debt restructuring agreement that Zambia and its official debtors reached, the association expects government to increase the allocation of funds in the education sector from the current 13 percent to more than 20 percent.

“It is now a great opportunity for the UPND administration to increase financial support to education to improve the quality of education in schools, colleges, and universities across the country,” Mr. Chansa said.

Mr. Chansa said previously, government spent more money on debt servicing than funding to education.

“Government allocated 36.1 percent of the total national budget to debt servicing, while the education sector only got 17.2 percent,” he said.

Mr. Chansa further appealed to the government to finish constructing the hostels at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU) and increase the student loan facilities.

Meanwhile, Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) Executive Director George Hamusunga, said that the debt restructuring agreement is very important to the education sector, saying that the budgetary allocation to education was very low in the past due to the debt servicing.

Mr. Hamusunga said that most of the money allocated to the education sector, was mainly for teachers’ payment and neglecting infrastructure and facilities in the sector.

“This agreement is going to free resources that we can leverage to invest in the education sector because now the burden of the debt is going to be smaller because we are spreading the repayments over the longer period,” Mr. Hamusunga said.

Mr. Hamusunga said that education remains relevant in the debt swap negotiations, saying that it is easier for some creditors to give debt relief on an account that the money for debt servicing was used to fund the education sector.