Devise Policy on sponsorship - Simukanga
UNZA vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga says the government should devise a deliberate policy in providing students sponsorship to help address low staffing levels in the mining sector.
And mines minister Christopher Yaluma has pledged more financial assistance to the School of Mines to boost the provision of quality mining graduates into the sector.
During the 2013/2014 School of Mines student awards and prize-giving ceremony in Lusaka on Friday, Prof Simukanga said the shortage of human resource in the sector had implications on service delivery and required external assistance from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development.
"It is our view that if the ministry provided sponsorship to several students in the school right from second year and bonded them for the period equivalent to that of sponsorship, this would help in addressing the low staffing levels," he said.
Prof Simukanga further said UNZA remained committed and ready to work not only with the ministry, but also with other stakeholders in the provision of quality graduates and demand driven in-service training and short courses that would positively impact the development of the mining sector and economy in general.
"…Such in-service training courses and short courses would not only provide participants with new knowledge and skills but also turn out to be cheaper than sending staff outside Zambia," said Prof Simukanga.
And Yaluma pledged financial support to the School of Mines to promote skills development to produce more mining graduates equipped with the right skills and knowledge.
"It is long overdue, we should have been supporting this awards ceremony financially so that we make it a very, very successful annual event. Next year we are going to do that," he said.
In recognising the need to increase the skills-set for Zambians in the industry, he also called for a collective effort on the part of all stakeholders to ensure mining graduates are fully equipped with the right skills to improve service delivery in the sector.
"It is not something very easy; it will take ourselves - the ministry; then the industry; the institution here School of Mines; and then your guardians to ensure you get where you are," said Yaluma.
The 2013/2014 School of Mines student awards and prize-giving ceremony saw several students receive prizes sponsored by various corporate entities such as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), First Quantum Minerals and the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ), among others. - post