By Dr Rozious Siatwambo
WITH Zambian schools set to remain closed for the rest of winter, and with an unknown path ahead for teaching for the remainder of the year, our children are facing a significant education challenge. For many students, particularly those in grades preceding important school transitions such as Grade 7, Grade 9 and Grade 12, this is particularly daunting, as the months lost to lockdown could potentially impact their readiness for next year.
It’s important to note that the time lost in the school year so far cannot be recovered. This will negatively impact all learners across all grades, and the time they have to finish important topics and syllabuses going forward. Students who have remained home have missed out on vast amounts of schoolwork. As a result, work that had to be covered in a single term will now take much longer to complete, adding further pressure to an already strained system. Added to this, many students need the support of their teachers and study groups to grasp key academic concepts. Learning alone, at home, deprives them of this support, making it that much more difficult for them to cope under the current conditions.
There is another critical factor to consider when assessing the impact of lockdown on education, and that is the mounting psychological pressure on students. Mentally and emotionally, our children are feeling the effects of not being in a classroom for months on end. Aside from the possible negative social impact, children’s behaviour has been affected, as they grapple with shifting their attention from progressive academic work to idleness in their communities.
It is against this unfolding backdrop to education in Zambia that I was delighted to hear that MultiChoice Zambia and the Ministry of General Education had taken the lead on e-learning and introduced a comprehensive new education channel called Edu TV. The channel is available on DStv channel 315 and GOtv channel 58, and broadcasts classroom-based learning and life skills programmes for children from primary school to secondary school level, based on the Zambian national curriculum.
This effectively extends national education services to almost every corner of our country, and offers the majority of our learners a valuable opportunity to keep abreast of academic work via TV. Learning through a digital platform like satellite-TV also reinforces the principle of staying home during this pandemic. Looking at this as a model for the future, there is potential for digital innovations to play a significant role in the transformation of Zambia’s education sector. Firstly, we can see this in the way Edu TV was specifically developed to fill the vital learning gap created by Covid-19 and the subsequent national lockdown.
We can also see it in MultiChoice Zambia’s wider bouquet of educational TV channels on DStv. This includes Mindset (channel 319), Mindset Pop (channel 317) and Da Vinci Kids (channel 318). While Mindset and Mindset Pop feature programming covering the entire spectrum of general education, from Early Childhood Learning to the current curriculums of Grades 4 to 9; Da Vinci Kids offers award-winning educational programming that is fun and stimulating, presenting inspired worldly views on important subjects.
Educational innovations like this are helping to change our children’s mindsets around learning, moving them out of the strict classroom landscape into more familiar digital territory. This is absolutely critical in preparing our youth for the innovations that will come in future – learning via video. Educational videos have the potential to provide theory instruction and enhance skills development, and as we have seen during lockdown, can be broadcast on multiple platforms, from TV to social and other online media.
While the future for lesson delivery will largely depend on how much capacity we can build into new technology systems, online is certainly one of the biggest future learning avenues Zambia will look to fully embracing. The launch of Edu TV on DStv and GOtv could not have come at more appropriate time. Considering the number of subscribers on these two platforms, the positive contribution this channel – along with DStv’s additional educational channels – will make in ensuring scholastic continuity during this difficult time cannot be overemphasised.
Learning is not attained by chance, it is attained through hard work and diligence. Technology, online and television-based learning broadens the arena in which we can encourage such hard work and diligence. These platforms provide invaluable support to Zambian educators, ultimately helping us to achieve our global education goals.
Dr Rozious Siatwambo is founder and CEO of Great North Road Academy Group of Companies, which includes Great North Road Academy, one of the leading private schools in Zambia. Dr Siatwambo is also an author, mentor and motivational speaker.
The University of Zambia (UNZA) commences construction of 3km perimeter wall fence
THE University of Zambia (UNZA) has commenced the construction of the three (3) kilometres perimeter wall fence aimed at securing the institution from vandals and theft activities.
Speaking during the official ground-breaking and laying of the foundation stone ceremony, University of Zambia Vice Chancellor, Prof. Luke Evuta Mumba says that, once completed, the wall fence will enhance the outlook of the university but also improve the security of its infrastructure as well as the community living and working within the institution.
The Vice Chancellor has thanked the government of the Republic of Zambia, in particular the Ministry of Local Government for funding the construction process. The Vice Chancellor adds that, the funds for the construction of the wall fence have been derived from a compensation arising from the land affected by the construction of the new road connecting Nangwenya and Kamloops roads.
The University of Zambia has in the recent past embarked on a massive infrastructure development program, demonstrated by a number of projects at both the Great East Road and Ridgeway campuses. Of note, is the East Park Mall developed by Graduare Property Development Limited, the construction of student hostels which are yet to be completed, the construction of the road connecting Nangwenya and Kamloops roads and most recently the completion of the Teaching and Learning Complex commissioned by the Republican President, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
While the University of Zambia notes with pride, that these developments have changed the outlook of the university, it also notes that the developments have exposed the institution to a number of entrances into its premises. This exposure has in turn brought about challenges in effectively providing security to the university and its important installations.
To secure the university from vandals and theft activities, Management of the institution has embarked on a project of constructing a perimeter wall fence around the university which is expected to be completed within three (3) months.
This is according to a press statement issued by Dr. Brenda Bukowa, A/Head – Comm. & Marketing at the University of Zambia (UNZA).
Minister was wrong to declare CEC’s transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier, Court rules
THE Lusaka High Court has quashed Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa’s decision to declare the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC’s) transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier.
In her judgement delivered on Friday judge Elita Mwikisa noted that there was a failure on the part of the Minister to act with procedural fairness towards CEC.
She said Minister’s decision to declare CEC’s transmission and distribution lines as common carrier through the passing of S.I No.57 of 2020, had taken away CEC’s rights to negotiate terms and conditions of use of its infrastructure in view of the fact that any enterprise can use CEC’s infractructure at the wheeling charge that ERB has set, which CEC had argued was not cost effective.
“In fact, KCM has abrogated its contractual obligations under the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) to pay the debt owed to CEC amounting to USD 144 million. I agree with CEC that S.I No. 57 of 2020 is too wide in its application in that it affects all the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines instead of only affecting lines supplying power to KCM,” judge Mwikisa said.
She found that the minister’s decision to declare CEC’s distribution and transmission lines as a common carrier was not for purposes of the Act but was intended to assist KCM avoid the effect of section 43 of the Electricity Act.
Judge Mwikisa agreed with CEC that the Minister’s decision was meant to ensure continous supply of electricity power to KCM, despite being indebted to CEC.
“The Minister’s decision is ultra vires the provisions of section 15 (2) of the Act and therefore illegal. KCM failed to pay the debt of USD144 million and CEC has the right under section 43 (1) to discontinue the supply of power,” she further said.
She further said CEC was not fairly treated by the Minister who arbitrarily used his powers to declare its transmission and distribution lines as common carrier without giving CEC a chance to negotiate terms and conditions for the use of its infrastructure.
“All in all, I find that the applicant has succeeded on all grounds under order 53 rule 3 of the Rules of the Supreme Court. I accordingly quash the decision of the Minister of May 29, 2020, to declare the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier. Costs follow the event,” ruled judge Mwikisa.
In this matter, CEC which cited the Attorney General and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) as respondents, was seeking a declaration that Nkhuwa’s decision dated May 29, 2020, to declare its transmission and distribution lines as common carrier was unlawful.
CEC wanted a declaration that the decision of the Minister of Energy to direct it to provide a wheeling path for Zesco Limited to supply power to KCM on terms directed by the Energy Regulation Board was illegal and therefore null and void.
It also wanted a declaration that the decision by the Director General of the Energy Regulation Board of May 31, 2020 to direct it to charge a wheeling tariff of US$5.84/kw/per month was illegal and therefore null and void.
CEC further wanted among others, an order to quash the said decisions and a further order to stop Nkhuwa from enforcing SI no.57 of 2020 as it is illegal.
The 2020 elective AGM will proceed as planned, FAZ says
FOLLOWING guidance from the world soccer governing body FIFA, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has informed its members and stakeholders that the delayed 2020 elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) will proceed as planned.
FIFA has guided FAZ on the way forward in respect of the elections and sternly warned that sanctions would follow if elections were not held as directed.
FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala says the association has also taken note of the letter from the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) that was widely circulated on social media platforms and received via whatsupp only that offered guidance on the electoral process.
He said FAZ received guidance from FIFA on the electoral process and will adhere to the directive.
“FAZ is compelled by FIFA and the consent order signed by all football parties on July 10, 2020 to end squabbles in Zambian football to proceed with elections after guidance from FIFA,” Kashala said.
He said all parties are bound by the consent order signed between the parties in the presence of the minister of sports Emmanuel Mulenga, National Sports Council of Zambia, FAZ president Andrew Kamanga and lawyers for the aggrieved parties to the effect that FIFA’s decision is final.
FIFA has written to FAZ considering their meeting with the National Sports Council of Zambia on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
“We trust that FAZ is now in a position to carry out the last step of its electoral process which we understand regards holding of FAZ elective general assembly on 27th February 2021. To this end, we would like to kindly recall on FAZ’s obligation to hold elections in line with the requirements of its statutes and regulations and without undue governmental or third-party interference as provided in FIFA Statutes (cf art. 14 par. 1of FIFA Statutes. In any event FIFA will monitor closely the elective general assembly virtually,” reads FIFA’s letter dated February 26, in part.
This is according to a statement issued by FAZ communications manager Sydney Mungala.