Government has increased the budgetary allocation to the education sector for the year 2015 from last year’s K8.61 billion to K9.4 billion, which represents a20.2 percent of the total budget.
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has announced in a proposed 2015 national budget that K9.4 billion will be spent in the education sector, 68 percent of which will go towards the recruitment of 5,000 teachers and to sustain the current establishment.
Mr. Chikwanda explained that the move to allocate over 20 percent of the budget to the education sector is aimed at reducing the pupil-teacher ratio.
He disclosed that K1.1 billion will go towards infrastructure development for early childhood, primary and secondary education.
The Finance Minister stated that K650 million has been allocated to commence construction of additional students’ accommodation at the University of Zambia, Mulungushi University, Copperbelt University and Evelyn Hone College and to continue the construction of new universities.
He said the allocation to the new universities will see the construction of Paul Mushindo, Chalimbana and Palabana universities be completed in 2015.
He has also disclosed that government will embark on the construction of King Lewanika and Luapula universities in 2015 noting that Robert Makasa, Mukuba and Kwame Nkrumah universities are almost completed.
In 2014, government allocated K404.3 million to the education sector infrastructure development for universities and other tertiary institutions particularly student hostels at the University of Zambia, Copperbelt and Mulungushi Universities while an additional K395.3 million was provided for operational grants for universities, student tuition and bursaries.
The proposed 2015 national budget has also allocated K79.6 million towards the construction of nine trades training institutes across the country while K28.5 million will go towards the procurement of research and equipment and the commencement of the construction of a national science centre in Chongwe, a fisheries centre in Samfya and mineral research centre in Solwezi.
Meanwhile, government has in the proposed 2015 national budget raised the allocated to bursaries by 27.9 percent to K200.2 million from the 2014 allocation of K156.5 million in order to address the challenges facing vulnerable school leavers in accessing tertiary education in colleges and universities.
And following the successful piloting of the school feeding programme, the Minister of Finance has allocated K32 million to roll-out the programme further in 2015.
All these allocations are from the K46.6 billion proposed 2015 national budget, which Mr. Chikwanda presented to parliament.
This year’s budget is K6 billion higher than the 2014 national budget which stood at K42.6 billion.