Zambia’s president, Hakainde Hichilema has scrapped January fees for public schools in that country. He said on Twitter:
Ever imagined that you’d be entering January without worrying about school fees? Jan 2022, if you have a child in public school, you won’t pay anything. This is what we promised & have delivered. When we removed fuel subsidies, this is what we intended for our people. #Zambia
Hichilema became Zambia’s president in August this year after defeating Edgar Lungu.
President Hichilema said education is the best equaliser and the UPND government stands by this. In the 2022 budget, the UPND government allocated K18.1 billion to education which is 10.4% of the total budget. This is the largest allocation in the last 5 years.
The previous budget allocations to Education are as follows:
2021 -K13.8 billion
2020 -K13.1 billion
2019 – K13.2 billion
2018 -K11.6 billion
Education Minister Douglas Siakalima said that the removal of subsidies is meant to enhance service delivery in sectors such as education that have been receiving inadequate funding in the past.
Siakalima said that it is the intention of the government to increase funding to the social sector but this can only be done when the country has marshalled enough domestic resources.
Meanwhile, say the move is merely a political gimmick. Said one critic:
The price of fuel and electricity has gone up. So has the cost of living. So if you take these into account majority of households are worse off or remained the same. Substitution of one cost for another is not development.