UNZA in K2.5m staggering debt – Chancellor

THE University of Zambia is technically insolvent with a staggering debt of K2.5 million, and government should intervene and readdress its funding model to public higher education institutions in order to raise their profile, UNZA Vice-Chancellor Luke Mumba has announced. Prof Mumba described the biggest university in the country as being in critical condition because of its rapidly growing debt and numerous problems. He said that emergency measures were needed to resuscitate the institution and that there was need for transformation, and it could not be business as usual. Prof Mumba disclosed this during an orientation session for Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo. “UNZA is technically insolvent with a staggering debt of K2.5 million, government should intervene and readdress its funding model to public higher education institutions in order to raise their profile. The institution is in ICU because of the numerous problems. These problems are not insurmountable and they cannot be tackled with a veil of business as usual” he said. Prof Mumba stressed the need for government to consider supporting institutions of higher learning if they were to operate efficiently. He said that the problems UNZA was facing were not insurmountable but they could not be tackled with a veil of ‘business as usual’. He pointed out that the problems the university was faced with were the same problems it faced 20 years ago and that what had only changed was their magnitude. Prof Mumba however expressed confidence that there would be change in the higher education sector with the appointment of Prof Luo as minister in charge. For her part, Prof Luo said she would lobby for funds to uplift the standards of all universities across the country. She told university officials that government would ensure that sanity was brought back to the institution. She disclosed that she had lined up a number of strategies, such as the loan scheme, that she hoped would transform the sector if well implemented. She also advised the university staff to execute their duties diligently before asking for salary hikes.

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