East MP bemoans classroom shortage

A class meets under a tree in Mwalubemba village, Zambia as the new school is built
A class meets under a tree in Mwalubemba village, Zambia as the new school is built

MOST Children in Vubwi District in the Eastern Province are learning from tobacco sheds due to inadequate schools and classroom blocks.
Patriotic Front (PF) Vubwi constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Margaret Miti said this in Parliament last week when she gave her maiden speech to the House.
Ms Miti said Vubwi District with a population of about 40, 000 had for a long time been neglected by the previous Government in terms of development.
“The area has inadequate school facilities forcing most children to learn from tobacco sheds, I am happy that the situation would be addressed as evident by the construction of a secondary school which will help increase the number of classes in the area,” Ms Miti said.
She was also happy that Government had decided to give a broadcasting licence to a community radio station in the area which was expected to start operations soon to help disseminate information on the developments going on in the country.
“Communication had been a challenge in the district such that some children still think that Rupiah Banda is still President of Zambia,” she said amid laughter from other MPs.
She said the creation of Vubwi as a district by President Michael Sata had also seen many developments such as the construction of roads and an administration block.
The district had also received inputs for the 2014/15 farming season which were in the sheds in readiness for distribution to the framers.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Livestock deputy minister Lackson Kazabu said Government was in the process of employing more agriculture extension officers to reduce the current deficit.
He said the current officer to farmer ratio stood at one extension officer to 1,000 farmers instead of the recommended standard of one to 400.
He said this when Independent MP Patrick Mucheleka asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock how many camp extension officers were employed by Government as of December 2013.
Mr Mucheleka also wanted to know the total establishment of the extension officers countrywide and what measures Government had taken to reduce the extension officer ratio.
Mr Kazabu said 1,488 extension officers had been deployed by 2013, bringing the total number of officers to 1848 at present.
He said Government was in the process of employing more extension officers to reduce the ratio.
“To cushion the shortage at the moment, we are working with farmers’ groups to mitigate the shortage of extension officers,” he said.
He said the ministry was also in the process of increasing camps through demarcation of the existing ones.

 Times of Zambia