The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), is elated by the government’s commitment to implement the ‘free education' policy direction through the 2022 National Budget. The goal of this policy is to make education more accessible and affordable in Zambia. This is a positive step toward the State fulfilling its commitment under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This commitment has been further solidified by the timely release of ZMW324 million in January as the 2022 first quarter operational support fund for public schools. These funds are aimed at facilitating the implementation of free education for all learners at early childhood, primary, and secondary education levels. JCTR urges the government to continue promoting pro-poor policies in social services delivery, beyond the focus of education.
However, as is always the case whenever new policies are being introduced, challenges are bound to arise. So far cases of theft of school funds, congestion of schools, corruption and abuse of authority have been recorded following the implementation of free education. Consideration of how learners are going to access and benefit from the free education policy is critical in guaranteeing that every child has access to education. Particularly, with congestion of schools comes unfavorable teacher to pupil ratios which manifest in a teacher's workload and how each teacher is available to offer services and care to the students. Given the role that quality education plays in the development of the country’s economy and society, JCTR is thus concerned about the system's weaknesses, which can easily be misused or abused if not diligently safeguarded. Read More>>>