EDUCATION Minister John Phiri has said the Government will this year start the construction of more than 4,000 bed spaces at the University of Zambia (UNZA).
This follows a directive by President Michael Sata in his speech to Parliament a fortnight ago to expedite the construction of infrastructure of universities in the country.
The minister said this in a speech read for him by UNZA Council chairperson Sherry Thole at the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Confucius Institute at UNZA.
The President recently told Parliament that the Government had embarked on a programme to construct student hostels at UNZA, Copperbelt University, Mulugushi University and Evelyn Hone College.
“I stand on the platform of the statement made by the President in Parliament on the construction of bed spaces at learning institutions.
“I, therefore, assure the acting vice-chancellor that the project to construct bed spaces will commence this year,” Dr Phiri said.
The Government is expected to construct a total of 3,200 bed spaces at the Copperbelt University, 1,280 for Mulugushi University and 960 bed spaces at Evelyn Hone College.
The minister also called on the private sector to partner with UNZA in special projects.
Meanwhile, Dr Phiri said the introduction of the Chinese language at UNZA, Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University would help meet the challenges of the future generations.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said the Confucius Institute at UNZA has set up a bridge of friendship between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Dr Phiri said skills training was cardinal in the alleviation of unemployment in Zambia.
The minister said at the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) graduation ceremony in Lusaka on Friday that the Government was convinced that the only way to alleviate unemployment and poverty was through improved skills.
“It is for this reason that my Government is upgrading, renovating and supporting our training institutions in all the 10 provinces of Zambia,” Dr Phiri said.
“The skills strategy that we have embarked on entails empowering both youths and the elderly to acquire skills that will enable them participate in various socio-economic activities.”
ICT vice-board chairperson Sylvester Mashamba said the centre had so far introduced professional long-term courses in telecommunications, fibre optics and computer system engineering.
Times of Zambia