VC addressing the media during the recent press briefing

I WOULD LIKE TO SET OFF IN MY REMARKS BY INDICATING HOW ALL OF US, AS A NATION AND AS A UNIVERSITY HAVE REMAINED IN A DEEP SENSE OF GRIEF FOR THE MANY LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN LOST THROUGH THE COVID – 19 PANDEMIC.  AS A UNIVERSITY WE HAVE LOST SOME OF OUR MOST TALENTED AND DEDICATED STAFF. I PAY TRIBUTE TO OUR GALLANT MEN AND WOMEN WHO DEVOTED ALL THEIR EFFORTS AND KNOWLEDGE TO DEVELOPING THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA AND RAISING THE PERFORMANCE OUTLOOK OF THIS GREAT INSTITUTION BY ENSURING THAT UNZA ONLY GETS BETTER. THEY PARTICIPATED IN PRESERVING AND CONSOLIDATING ON THE PAST ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IN THE PROVISION OF HIGHER EDUCATION. UNFORTUNATELY, THEY WERE TAKEN AWAY BY THE COVID – 19 PANDEMIC AND OTHER AILMENTS. MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN ETERNAL PEACE.

 

2.0     OUR VALUE PROPOSITION

AS THE LEADER IN TERTIARY EDUCATION IN ZAMBIA, WE HAVE BEEN CHALLENGING TRADITIONS FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS. WE ARE THE FIRST UNIVERSITY IN ZAMBIA TO ADMIT STUDENTS PURELY ON ACADEMIC MERIT. SINCE 1966, OUR AIM HAS BEEN TO CREATE AND SUSTAIN A UNIVERSITY IN WHICH, FOR THE BENEFIT OF BOTH ZAMBIA AND THE WIDER WORLD, THE BRIGHTEST RESEARCHERS AND THE MOST PROMISING STUDENTS, WHATEVER THEIR SOCIAL OR CULTURAL BACKGROUND, CAN THRIVE AND REALIZE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.

IN CREATING THE FIRST UNIVERSITY IN ZAMBIA, OUR FOUNDERS RECOGNIZED THE POWER OF EDUCATION TO CHANGE SOCIETY AND ITS EQUALIZING POTENTIAL.  PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA ONCE SAID, “AN INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION IS AN INVESTMENT INTO OUR FUTURE”. WE HOLD THESE BELIEFS JUST AS STRONGLY TODAY. THE CURRENT UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA STRATEGIC PLAN HAS REMAINED FOCUSED ON SEVEN STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS OUTLINED IN THE 2018 – 2022 STRATEGIC PLAN. OUR POSITION REMAINS UNCHANGED. WE WANT TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AND LEARNING, ENHANCE OUR RESEARCH (KNOWLEDGE GENERATION) AND PUBLICATIONS OUTLOOK, PROMOTE COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIPS, FOSTER THE UNIVERSITY BRAND, INVEST IN VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, ADVANCE FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AND INDEED ENHANCE THE GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS. THESE ARE THE CLEAR PATHWAYS WE HAVE SET FOR OURSELVES TOWARDS SPEEDING UP UNZA’S TRANSFORMATION INTO A WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITY.

3.0     OUR CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

THE POINT AT ISSUE HERE IS THE NEED FOR UNZA TO RESPOND TO THE CHANGING NEEDS OF THE EMPLOYERS OF OUR GRADUATES ACROSS ALL SECTORS AS WELL AS ENHANCE THE GRADUATES’ ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS SO THAT THEY CAN ALSO CHOOSE TO BE SELF-EMPLOYED AND IN THE PROCESS BECOME EMPLOYERS. A FURTHER POINT AT ISSUE IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS, AND IN THE PROCESS, ACHIEVE THE QUALITATIVE IMPROVEMENT OF THE MATERIAL CONDITIONS OF OUR COMMUNITIES. THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IS KEY IN ACHIEVING A DECISIVE TURN IN TRANSFORMING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY TO THE TRACKS OF INTENSIVE DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN IN THE SHORT TERM AND VISION 2030 IN THE LONG TERM. WE CONSIDER IT A FURTHER POINT AT ISSUE TO CONTRIBUTE TO FINDING SOLUTIONS THROUGH RESEARCH TO THE MANY CHALLENGES OUR SOCIETY IS FACED WITH IN AGRICULTURE, HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT;  LET ME SIMPLY SAY IN ALL AREAS OF HUMAN ENDEAVOR. UNDERLYING ALL THIS, IS THE NEED FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA TO BE FINANCIALLY SUSTAINABLE.

TEACHING AND LEARNING

IN PURSUING THE GOAL TO ENHANCE TEACHING AND LEARNING, OUR TRAJECTORY HAS BEEN CLEAR AND CONSISTENT. THIS IS THE COURSE OF ENSURING THAT WE DELIVER EXCELLENCE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OUR STUDENTS AND ENSURE THAT WE CONSISTENTLY REVIEW OUR PROGRAMMES TO MEET THE CHANGING NEEDS OF THE LABOUR MARKET. IN THIS REGARD, UNZA HAS OVER THE PAST 55 YEARS PRODUCED OVER 60, 000 GRADUATES, QUALIFIED HUMAN RESOURCES,  WHO HAVE GONE TO SERVE IN DIFFERENT SECTORS OF THE ZAMBIAN ECONOMY AND ABROAD.   

 

IMMEDIATELY UPON CLOSURE OF ALL LEARNING INSTITUTIONS BY THE GOVERNMENT IN MARCH 2020 DUE TO THE COVID - 19 PANDEMIC, THE UNIVERSITY SWITCHED TO E-LEARNING USING ITS MOODLE LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND THE ASTRIA LEARNING PLATFORM. TO EVALUATE THE INTRODUCTION OF E-LEARNING, THE UNIVERSITY CONDUCTED A SURVEY TO GET STUDENTS PERCEPTION OF THE INTRODUCTION OF E-LEARNING. BY AND LARGE, THE RESULTS WERE POSITIVE BUT SOME AREAS OF CONCERN WERE ALSO BROUGHT TO THE FORE WITH THE UNIVERSITY TAKING SPECIFIC QUALITY AUDITS ON IDENTIFIED COURSES, WHICH THEN LED TO SPECIFIC REMEDIAL MEASURES, INCLUDING DISCUSSIONS WITH RESPECTIVE LECTURERS.

FROM JULY 2016 TO-DATE, OVER 20 NEW MARKET DRIVEN PROGRAMMES HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA. THIS IS AN AVERAGE OF 5 MARKET DRIVEN PROGRAMMES INTRODUCED PER YEAR.

WITH REGARD TO LAW TRAINING, WE RECORDED A STERLING PERFORMANCE AT THE 2020 ZAMBIA INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED LEGAL EDUCATION (ZIALE) EXAMINATIONS. FROM THE 14 STUDENTS WHO CLEARED THE 2020 ZIALE EXAMS, 13 OF THEM WERE FROM UNZA SCHOOL OF LAW.

AT THE UNZA MEDICAL SCHOOL, WE REVISED THE MEDICAL DEGREE PROGRAMME CURRICULA AND HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REDUCED ITS DURATION FROM SEVEN YEARS TO SIX YEARS. FURTHER AT THE SCHOOL OF NURSING SCIENCES, WE HAVE REDUCED THE DURATION OF THE NURSING SCIENCES DEGREE FROM 5 YEARS TO 4 YEARS. THESE REDUCTIONS IN THE NUMBER OF YEARS ARE IN SYNCHRONY WITH THE GLOBAL TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES IN THE TRAINING OF MEDICAL AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WHERE THE PROGRAMMES ARE BEING REPACKAGED WITHOUT NECESSARILY COMPRISING ON QUALITY AND, TECHNOLOGY IS BEING USED TO ENHANCE TEACHING AND LEARNING.

WE HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS TO ACCREDIT OUR ACADEMIC PROGRAMMES. OUT OF THE TOTAL 270 ACADEMIC PROGRAMMES, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS SUBMITTED 146 (54%) OF OUR PROGRAMMES TO THE HIGHER EDUCATION AUTHORITY (HEA) FOR ACCREDITATION AND OF THIS NUMBER, 34 (12.5%) HAVE BEEN ACCREDITED. OUR GOAL IS TO SUBMIT ALL THE REMAINING PROGRAMMES FOR ACCREDITATION BY 30TH JUNE 2021. 

IN 2020, THE GRADUATE STUDIES FUNCTION OF THE DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH AND GRADUATE STUDIES (DRGS) WAS DECENTRALIZED TO THE THIRTEEN SCHOOLS. THIS WAS IN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE SUPPORT TO POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS. THE DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH AND GRADUATE STUDIES IS ON A PATH OF RE-ORGANIZATION INTO A DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION (DRDI). THE PROPOSED NEW FUNCTIONS WILL FOCUS ON RESEARCH COORDINATION, STANDARDS AND QUALITY CONTROL, RESEARCH AND PROJECT PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT, INVENTIONS AND INNOVATIONS, DISSEMINATION OF RESEARCH OUTPUT, GENERATION, MANAGEMENT AND USE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, RESOURCE MOBILIZATION FOR RESEARCH AND CAPACITY BUILDING IN KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND TRANSLATION.

AS PART OF ENHANCING TEACHING AND LEARNING, WE HAVE PAID PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF STUDENT EXPERIENCE. OUR STUDENT EXPERIENCE PROGRAMME IS SUPPORTED BY THE UNZA QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK.

I AM ALSO DELIGHTED TO INFORM THE NATION THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA INTRODUCED THE ONLINE APPLICATION AND REGISTRATION SYSTEM IN 2020. THIS SYSTEM HAS IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND WIDENED THE REACH FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS WHO CAN NOW APPLY FROM ANY PART OF THE WORLD.

FURTHER, WE HAVE INTRODUCED DIRECT ENTRY INTO ALL THE SCHOOLS. THIS HAS ENABLED ALL PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS TO BE PLACED IN THE SCHOOL OF THEIR CHOICE.  THIS DEVELOPMENT HAS ATTRACTED AN INCREASED LEVEL OF STUDENT ENROLMENTS WITH OVER 11,000 SCHOOL LEAVERS GIVEN PROVISIONAL ACCEPTANCE AND OF THIS NUMBER, CLOSE TO 5,000 HAVE REGISTERED SO FAR.

FROM A STUDENT GOVERNANCE PERSPECTIVE, A STUDENT GUILD CONSTITUTION WAS DEVELOPED AND IMPLEMENTED IN 2019. THE CONSTITUTION HAS HELPED IN PROVIDING A FRAMEWORK FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR STUDENTS THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA STUDENTS UNION (UNZASU). FURTHER, THE GUILD CONSTITUTION HAS HELPED TO ADDRESS CONCERNS OF THE STUDENT COMMUNITY IN A MORE AMICABLE MANNER AND HAS HELPED IN OUR EFFORTS TO MAINTAIN GENERALLY CORDIAL WORKING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND STUDENTS.

 I NOW TURN TO ENHANCING RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS

MY FIRST POINT OF EMPHASIS IS THE WORK WE ARE DOING IN THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION. AS YOU MAY BE AWARE, THE EDUCATION OF PERSONS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES HAS OFTEN TAKEN SECONDARY PLACE IN SPITE OF THE MANY HUMAN RIGHTS ARGUMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN ADVANCED. THE INCLUSIVE EDUCATION PROJECT AIMS AT PROVIDING QUALITY EDUCATION TO ALL REGARDLESS OF RACE, GENDER, PHYSICAL ENDOWMENTS OR CULTURAL ORIENTATION. THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE WORLD BANK SPONSORED - ZAMBIA EDUCATION ENHANCEMENT PROGRAMME (ZEEP) AND AIMS AT ESTABLISHING SUCCESS IN SCHOOLS FOR ALL LEARNERS, INCLUDING THOSE WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES.

THIS IS A 335,000 KWACHA WORLD BANK SPONSORED PROGRAMME IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MINISTRY OF GENERAL EDUCATION.

OUR TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND ADVISORY UNIT (TDAU) WORKING WITH THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO RESEARCH AND INNOVATION ON COVID – 19 PREVENTATIVE MEASURES BY DEVELOPING THE FULL BODY SANITIZER. I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INVITE THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO ORDER A UNIT FOR USE AT THEIR PREMISES. THE PRICE IS ESTIMATED AT 45,000.00 KWACHA PER UNIT.  LATER THIS MONTH THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA WILL BE LAUNCHING THE FIRST EVER VENTILATOR MANUFACTURED HERE IN ZAMBIA BY OUR OWN SCIENTISTS. 

I AM ALSO PLEASED TO MENTION THAT IN 2019, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA THROUGH THE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES SECURED FUNDING FROM THE AFRICAN UNION TO LEAD A TEAM ON A PROJECT TITLED: DIVERSITY OF ASPERGILLUS SPECIES AND AFLATOXIN CONTAMINATION ALONG MAIZE AND GROUNDNUT VALUE CHAINS IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA. THIS IS PROBLEM CAUSED BY INFESTATION OF MAIZE AND GROUNDNUTS BY FUNGUS THERE REDUCING THE QUALITY AND VALUE OF OUR PRODUCE BUT ALSO CAUSING COLON CANCER. THIS PROJECT IS BEING IMPLEMENTED OVER A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS FROM 2019 TO 2021 IN ETHIOPIA, UGANDA AND ZAMBIA.

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA THROUGH THE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES IS COLLABORATING WITH A NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS IN PLANT BREEDING FOR DIFFERENT TRAITS. WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) AND THE FOOD AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO) WE HAVE DEVELOPED TWO NEW COWPEA VARIETIES, LUNKHWAKWA AND LUKUSUZI. THE TWO-COWPEA VARIETIES WILL OFFER SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED YIELDS AND QUALITY (RESILIENCE TO DRY CONDITIONS AND DISEASE TOLERANCE) TO FARMERS AND THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE.

 

FURTHER NOTABLE AREAS OF OUTPUT IN RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS HAVE BEEN RECORDED AT THE UNZA - SCHOOL OF MEDICINE WHERE ROBUST RESEARCH ACTIVITIES ARE TAKING PLACE INCLUDING GASTRIC AND KAPOSIS SARCOMA CANCERS IN ADULTS AND THEIR TREATMENT MODALITY STUDIES, HIV/AIDS AND TUBERCULOSIS IN BOTH ADULTS AND CHILDREN INCLUDING THERAPEUTICS AND DRUG RESISTANCE. MATERNAL AND PAEDIATRIC HIV IS ANOTHER PRIORITY AREA OF RESEARCH IN THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE. HYPERTENSION STUDIES IN ADULTS AND DURING PREGNANCY HAVE ALSO TAKEN CENTRE STAGE IN RECENT YEARS. MALARIA IN GENERAL AND CEREBRAL MALARIA IN CHILDREN HAS BEEN ONE OF THE EXCITING ONGOING RESEARCH AREAS.

MOST OF THE STUDIES OCCURRING AT THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE HAVE BEEN TAKING PLACE IN COLLABORATION WITH OUR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS TO WHOM WE ARE SINCERELY INDEBTED. THESE INCLUDE THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH (NIH), FOGARTY INTERNATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMME, THE CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND THE AFRICAN RESEARCH NETWORK FOR NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES.

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA THROUGH THE SCHOOL OF NURSING SCIENCES IS HOSTING A 5 YEAR-NORAD (NORWEGIAN) PROJECT CALLED THE NORHED PROJECT. THE NORHED PROJECT IS FORMED OUT OF FIVE UNIVERSITIES. THREE SOUTHERN PARTNERS WHICH ARE UNIVERSITY OF MALAWI- KAMUZU COLLEGE OF NURSING, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE - COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES AND THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA SCHOOL OF NURSING SCIENCES. THE TWO NORTHERN PARTNERS ARE ARCTIC UNIVERSITY OF NORWAY AND UNIVERSITY OF OSLO, NORWAY. THROUGH THIS PROJECT, A NUMBER OF ACTIVITIES ARE BEING UNDERTAKEN AND THESE INCLUDE;

    • ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BACHELOR SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMME IN MIDWIFERY;
    • ESTABLISHMENT OF MASTER OF SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMME IN  MIDWIFERY AND WOMEN’S HEALTH;
    • ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PHD DEGREE PROGRAMME IN MIDWIFERY- WITH SCHOLARSHIPS FOR 5 PHD CANDIDATES;

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA - SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS CREDITED AS A REGIONAL WHO TRAINING CENTER FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF VARIOUS RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IN PUBLIC HEALTH AND HAS SO FAR TRAINED STUDENTS FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF AFRICA INCLUDING MALAWI, UGANDA, TANZANIA, CONGO, ETHIOPIA, AND BOTSWANA UNDER A GRANT CALLED STRENGTHENING THE SCOPE AND QUALITY OF REGIONAL FOCUSED TRAINING IN IMPLEMENTATION RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE (STIR -TDR).

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IS ALSO HOST TO THE EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA (ESDA) PROJECT SPONSORED BY THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (AFDB) UNDER THE SCHOOL OF MINES. APART FROM YEAR-ON-YEAR POSTGRADUATE TRAINING PROVISION TO THE SUB-REGION IN SUSTAINABLE MINING METHODS, THIS PROJECT HAS INVESTED ABOUT US$20 000, TO DEVELOP A CASE STUDY ON THE INDUSTRIAL MINERALS VALUE CHAIN, FOCUSING ON A COOPERATIVE OF ABOUT 15 ARTISANAL MINERS, 40% OF THEM BEING WOMEN. THIS GROUP OPERATES ALONG MUNGWI ROAD IN THE MATERO AREA OF LUSAKA. THE PROJECT ENGAGED THE UNZA TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND ADVISORY UNIT (TDAU) IN 2019 WHO MANUFACTURED A SKID MOUNTED CRUSHER AND DOUBLE DECK SCREEN, WHICH IS NOW BEING USED TO HELP THE COOPERATIVE ADD VALUE TO THEIR CRUSHED STONES. WE INVITE THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO PARTNER WITH US TO PROPAGATE THIS MACHINE SO THAT IT CAN REACH OTHER SMALL SCALE STONE CRUSHERS IN THE COUNTRY.

WITH REGARDS TO THE SCHOOL OF LAW, IT HAS SECURED A STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION PERTAINING TO FUNDING OF THE MASTER OF LAWS PROGRAMME. THE SCHOOL HAS BEEN ADMITTED AS AN ASSOCIATE PARTNER TO THE ERASMUS MUNDUS JOINT LLM MASTER DEGREE ENTITLED INTERNATIONAL LAW OF GLOBAL SECURITY, PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT (ILGSPD). THE PARTNERSHIP BRINGS TOGETHER LEADING EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM PARTNER UNIVERSITIES TO PROVIDE AN INNOVATIVE, INTEGRATED AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMME. IT IS DESIGNED “TO TRAIN THE NEXT GENERATION OF LAWYERS AND POLICY-MAKERS WHO WILL CONTRIBUTE TO RULES-BASED GLOBAL SECURITY GOVERNANCE WITH THEIR ABILITY TO ENGAGE WITH THE POLITICAL CONTEXT OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE HOLISTIC APPROACHES THAT ARE NEEDED FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE, SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT.”

 IN THE FIELD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA THROUGH THE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE HAS DEVELOPED THE RAPID EBOLA DIAGNOSIS OR TESTING KIT. THE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE IS LEADING ON THE PROJECT ON KABWE MINE POLLUTION AMELIORATION INITIATIVE (KAMPAI) WHICH IS RUNNING FOR A PERIOD OF 5 YEARS FROM MAY 2016 TO MAY 2021. THIS PROJECT HAS A GOAL TO REDUCE THE NEGATIVE IMPACT CAUSED BY LEAD (PB) POLLUTION IN THE KABWE MINING AREA AND ESTABLISH NOVEL REMEDIATION TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN BE UTILIZED WORLDWIDE. THE PROJECT WAS INITIATED BY HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY IN JAPAN IN COLLABORATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA, SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE AND SEVERAL OTHER SCHOOLS OF THE UNIVERSITY ARE INVOLVED IN THIS MULTIDISCIPLINARY PROJECT.

I AM GLAD TO INFORM OUR STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA BIOSAFETY LEVEL 3 LABORATORY HOSTED AT THE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE HAS BEEN A BEACON OF ACTIVITIES INVOLVING DIAGNOSTICS FOR COVID-19 FOR ZAMBIA.  THIS IS A HIGHLY SPECIALIZED LAB THAT HANDLES VERY DANGEROUS PATHOGENS SUCH AS EBOLA AND CORONA VIRUSES. THERE ARE ONLY VERY FEW SUCH LABS IN AFRICA.  THROUGH THIS LAB OVER 100,000 TESTS TO DATE HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT BY KEY PERSONNEL UNDERTAKING COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS AND GENOME SEQUENCING DUTIES LED BY OUR OWN TEAM OF WORLD CLASS EXPERTS FROM THE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE AND THE SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES.

THE ABOVE ARE ONLY A FEW EXAMPLES (KADYONKO) OF THE NUMEROUS RESEARCH OUTPUTS FROM UNZA.  SUFFICE TO SAY THAT ALL THE 13 SCHOOLS, ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES AND CENTERS ARE ACTIVELY CONDUCTING RESEARCH WHICH IS IMPACTING THEIR DISCIPLINES AND ADDING TO THE BODY OF KNOWLEDGE.

DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE PRESS, THE GENERAL PUBLIC, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN  MAY WISH TO KNOW THAT IN RECOGNITION UNZA’S ACHIEVEMENT IN A NUMBER OF INDICATORS SUCH AS THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF OUR RESEARCH OUTPUTS, NUMBER OF UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE ACADEMIC PROGRAMMES, THE GAINS WE HAVE MADE IN INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, THE NUMBER AND QUALITY OF PROFESSORS AND SENIOR LECTURES, NUMBER OF LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS, NUMBER OF FOREIGN STUDENTS AND STAFF, THE RANKING WEB OF UNIVERSITIES, ONE OF THE RANKING AGENCIES OF UNIVERSITIES IN THE WORLD, HAS RECENTLY MOVED UNZA’S RANKING POSITION FROM NUMBER 55 IN AFRICA IN 2016 TO NUMBER 18 IN 2020 AND TO BE AMONG THE TOP 200 UNIVERSITIES IN AFRICA.  WE ARE PROUD OF THIS ACHIEVEMENT MADE IN JUST OVER 4 YEARS AND OUR ASPIRATION IS THAT BY 2025 UNZA SHOULD RANK AMONG THE TOP 10 UNIVERSITIES IN AFRICA.

 

HEALTH CARE PROVISION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA & SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES

I NOW TURN TO PROVISION OF HEALTH SERVICES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA. THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HEALTH SERVICES HAS BENEFITED FROM THE FRUITFUL COLLABORATION WITH THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND THE AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (AHF).  THIS HAS LED TO IMPROVEMENTS IN THE QUALITY OF CARE UNZA CLINIC PROVIDES TO THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY AND ITS SURROUNDING AREAS, AND A REDUCTION IN THE COST OF SERVICE DELIVERY AS FOLLOWS:

SUPPORT FROM MOH AND AHF TO UNZA CLINIC. TO DATE, TWENTY FIVE (25) MEMBERS OF STAFF HAVE BEEN SECONDED TO UNZA CLINIC BY MOH AND THE AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (AHF). THIS HAS GREATLY IMPROVED THE QUALITY OF CARE, REDUCED CLIENT WAITING TIMES AND ON THE WHOLE REDUCED UNZA PAYROLL COSTS GIVEN THAT THE SECONDED STAFF ARE ON THE PAYROLL OF THE PARTNER INSTITUTIONS. FURTHER, AHF HAS EXTENDED ITS SUPPORT TO UNZA CLINIC IN PROVISION OF HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT AND FURNITURE ANNUALLY AS WELL AS AN OPERATIONAL GRANT WHICH IS DISBURSED MONTHLY AND HAS GREATLY MITIGATED BOTH CAPITAL EXPENDITURE RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS AND OPERATIONAL COSTS OF THE CLINIC.

THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY CLINIC, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS ALSO CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS COVID-19 MITIGATION. THE UNIVERSITY CLINIC HAS CONTRIBUTED TO VARIOUS MITIGATION AND CONTROL PROCESSES FOR COVID-19 INCLUDING PREPAREDNESS FOR RE-OPENING THE INSTITUTION, TESTING WITH SUPPORT FROM THE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE AS WELL AS PROMPT DIAGNOSIS AND REFERRAL FOR THOSE REQUIRING HOSPITALIZATION.

4.       INVESTMENTS IN VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL

          INFRASTRUCTURE.

SECURITY AND SAFETY

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA FACES NUMEROUS SECURITY CHALLENGES ATTRIBUTED LARGELY TO THE POROUS NATURE OF THE GREAT EAST ROAD AND RIDGEWAY CAMPUSES. WE ARE GRATEFUL TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA H.E. DR EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU FOR FACILITATING THE RELEASE OF THE COMPENSATION OF ELEVEN MILLION KWACHA BY THE MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING FOR UNIVERSITY LAND TAKEN OVER IN THE LUSAKA DECONGESTION PROJECT. ARISING FROM THIS, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA (UNZA) HAS COMMENCED THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE 3 KM PERIMETER WALL FENCE AIMED AT SECURING THE INSTITUTION FROM VANDALS AND THEFT ACTIVITIES. ONCE COMPLETED, THE WALL FENCE WILL ENHANCE THE OUTLOOK OF THE UNIVERSITY BUT WILL ALSO IMPROVE THE SECURITY OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE AS WELL AS THE COMMUNITY LIVING AND WORKING WITHIN THE INSTITUTION.

OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, WE HAVE RE-AFFIRMED OUR RESOLVE TO KEEP UNZA CLEAN AND GREEN AND HEALTHY. OUR INVESTMENT OF K700,000 IN 2019 IN A SKIP TRUCK FOR OWN GARBAGE COLLECTION IS BEGINNING TO BEAR FRUIT. 

THE SUPPORT OF ALUMNI THROUGH THE ALUMNI RELATIONS & ADVANCEMENT OPERATION HAS WITNESSED THE PLANTING OF OVER 1,200 TREES IN THE LAST FOURTEEN MONTHS.

WITH SUPPORT FROM ALUMNI, WE HAVE ALSO BEEN ABLE TO ACHIEVE MORE. THE ALUMNI RELATIONS AND ADVANCEMENT OPERATION HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN FUNDING THE REHABILITATION OF THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY ABLUTION FACILITIES AND THE SPECIAL COLLECTION SECTION OF THE LIBRARY.

WITH REGARDS TO THE ALUMNI LED ADOPT A ROOM CAMPAIGN, OVER 200 ROOMS HAVE TO-DATE BEEN ADOPTED BY A CROSS SECTION OF UNZA ALUMNI. AS I THANK THE UNZA ALUMNI FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO ASSIST IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF UNZA, I MAKE A CLARION CALL FOR MORE SUPPORT TO ASSIST IN IMPROVING THE OUTLOOK OF OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH.

MAY I  TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INFORM THE NATION THAT  THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, COMRADE DR EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, HAS ESTABLISHED THE PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND TENABLE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA. THROUGH THIS ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS THIS YEAR RECEIVED THE FIRST BATCH OF 10 ZIMBABWEAN STUDENTS TO TRAIN IN VARIOUS UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMMES. WE CAN ONLY THANK OUR DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS FOR THIS VERY NOBLE GESTURE. IN THE SAME VEIN, I THANK MANY OTHER COOPERATING PARTNERS WHO HAVE COMFORT TO OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS AND PRIZES TO OUR STUDENTS. THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENT SUPPORT ARE ENORMOUS. THEREFORE, I URGE BOTH ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA – CORPORATE AND INDIVIDUAL PHILANTHROPISTS TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING US.

VIRTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE

WITH REGARDS TO OUR INVESTMENT IN VIRTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA INTERNET BANDWIDTH HAS BEEN INCREASED FROM 300MBPS TO 512MBPS. THE INTERNET BANDWIDTH INCREMENT HAS TREMENDOUSLY SPEEDED UP ONLINE STUDENT REGISTRATION AND PROVIDED SUFFICIENT CAPACITY FOR ACCESS TO ONLINE EDUCATIONAL CONTENT AND LIBRARIES TO WHICH THE UNIVERSITY SUBSCRIBES.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS ALSO PROCURED LIVE VIRTUAL CLASSROOM EQUIPMENT COSTING US$ 658,000, TO SUPPORT THE ICT USE IN THE PROVISION OF OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING. THIS EQUIPMENT IS NOW IN USE.

 

PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

COMING TO PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS BEEN ON AN AMBITIOUS JOURNEY TO RENOVATE ITS EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE AND TO CONSTRUCT NEW TEACHING AND OFFICE BUILDINGS.

IN 2018 A NEW OFFICE BUILDING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF FOOD SCIENCE & NUTRITION IN THE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES WAS CONSTRUCTED WITH FUNDING FROM THE TROPICAL HELP EDUCATION TRUST (THET) IN COLLABORATION WITH CARE INTERNATIONAL AT A TOTAL COST OF K1.4 MILLION.

IN 2018, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA MANAGEMENT NEGOTIATED WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA TO ENSURE THAT ONE OF THE THREE MAIZE MILLING AND PROCESSING PLANT FOR THE COUNTRY, ONCE CONSTRUCTED, IS HANDED OVER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA.  THUS, WORK TO SETUP A MAIZE MILLING AND PROCESSING PLANT A THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA, LIEMPE FARM WAS COMMISSIONED BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT DR EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU ON 17TH APRIL 2019.

THE PLANT WILL HAVE CAPACITY TO PROCESS 40 TONS OR 800 X 50KG BAGS OF MAIZE IN A DAY. THIS INVESTMENT ONCE COMPLETED WILL BE USED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA TO STRENGTHEN THE TEACHING AND RESEARCH IN MILLING AND ASSOCIATED SCIENCES. THE MAIZE MILLING AND PROCESSING PLANT WILL ALSO PROVIDE THE IMPORTANT FORWARD AND BACKWARD LINKAGES WITH OUR FARMERS ON THE ONE HAND, THE LABOUR MARKET AND THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR ON THE OTHER.

THIS MAIZE MILLING AND PROCESSING PLANT TO BE COMMISSIONED LATER THIS YEAR (2021), IS IMPORTANT FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA AS IT IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS FOSTERING THE VERY WARM BILATERAL TIES BETWEEN THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA ON ONE PART AND FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA ON THE OTHER.

COMING TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS (GSB), THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA SECURED THE FORMER COMMONWEALTH YOUTH CENTRE FROM THE MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORT IN 2018. THIS FOLLOWED A CONCLUSIVE ENDING OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMONWEALTH AT THE CENTRE AS PER AGREEMENT OF ENGAGEMENT. THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IN TURN ALLOCATED THIS INFRASTRUCTURE TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS IN THE SAME YEAR. THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS IS A PART OF THE INITIATIVES TO REMODEL INCOME GENERATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA. THE GSB HAS HELPED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FINANCIAL RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA.

 

 

I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE WITH SINCERE THANKS THE SUPPORT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS BEEN RECEIVING FROM ZESCO LIMITED INCLUDING A DONATION OF MACHINE LABORATORY EQUIPMENT WORTH US$100,000.00. FURTHER ZESCO REFURBISHED LABORATORY EQUIPMENT IN THE SCHOOL WORTH K1 MILLION. ZESCO IN COLLABORATION WITH ABB AND CEC HAVE ALSO ASSISTED THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING IN THE RECAPITALIZATION OF ICT TEACHING LABORATORY AND FIELD FACILITIES INCLUDING THE MODERNIZATION OF THE MINI-GRID HIGH VOLTAGE SUBSTATION (11/66/3.3KV).

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW TEACHING AND LEARNING COMPLEX HOUSING TWO ULTRA - MODERN LECTURE THEATRES LOCATED AT THE GREAT EAST ROAD CAMPUS, LUSAKA. THIS TWENTY SEVEN MILLION KWACHA PROJECT WAS MADE POSSIBLE FROM INTERNALLY GENERATED FUNDS REALIZED THROUGH UNZA’S PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) WITH GRADUARE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT LIMITED WHICH CULMINATED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF EAST PARK MALL. THE COMBINED SITTING CAPACITY OF THE TWO LECTURE THEATRES IS 700 STUDENTS. IN ADDITION TO THE TWO LECTURE THEATRES, THE NEW TEACHING AND LEARNING COMPLEX HOUSES A BOARD ROOM, TWO COMPUTER LABORATORIES, TWO TUTORIAL ROOMS AND TWENTY TWO OFFICES. THIS TEACHING COMPLEX WAS COMMISSIONED BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. EDGAR C. LUNGU, THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA ON FRIDAY 19TH FEBRUARY 2021.

WITH SUPPORT FROM THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (AFDB) AND THE MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IS ALSO CONSTRUCTING YET ANOTHER TEACHING BUILDING BETWEEN THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND THE SCHOOL OF MINES WHICH WILL HOUSE TWO ULTRA-MODERN LECTURE THEATRES AMONG OTHER FACILITIES.  THESE LECTURE THEATRES HAVE A SITTING CAPACITY OF 800 SEATS. THIS PROJECT WILL COST K14.7 MILLION. THIS PROJECT IS AT 93 PERCENT LEVEL OF COMPLETION AND WILL BE COMMISSIONED THIS YEAR.

WATER AND SANITATION

THE WATER AND SANITATION CHALLENGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IS NOW AT THE CRISIS STAGE LARGELY DUE TO THE OLD WATER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM, ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AND VANDALISM. MOST OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS OVER FIFTY YEARS OLD AND HAVE SUCCUMBED TO WEAR AND TEAR.  THE UNIVERSITY IS ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGE BUT WOULD DO IT FASTER WITH SUPPORT FROM STAKEHOLDERS.

 

5.       EFFORTS TOWARDS ACHIEVEMENT OF FINANCIAL

          SUSTAINABILITY 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IS FACED WITH SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL CHALLENGES. WHILE THE GOVERNMENT GRANT HAS REMAINED STATIC, ITS REAL VALUE HAS DECLINED WITH A CONTINUED RISE IN THE OPERATIONAL COSTS. OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS, REVENUE FROM TUITION FEES HAS GONE UP MARGINALLY. SIMILARLY, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS WORKED HARD TO MARGINALLY INCREASE OTHER SOURCES OF FUNDING IN THE PERIOD 2016 TO-DATE. THEREFORE, THE CHALLENGE IS SIGNIFICANTLY A MARGINAL INCREASE OF FUNDING FROM THE GOVERNMENT. ARISING FROM THIS, THE UNIVERSITY STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME HAS OVER THE PERIOD 2014 – 2017 RECORDED A CONSISTENTLY RISING DEFICIT. THE AVERAGE ANNUAL DEFICIT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA NOW STANDS AT K800 MILLION. TODAY, THE INSTITUTION IS TECHNICALLY INSOLVENT AS INDICATED BY EXTERNAL AUDITS FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, MEANING THAT WITHOUT GOVERNMENT SUPPORT, UNZA CANNOT CONTINUE TO EXIST.

ONE OF THE KEY DRIVERS IN THE HIGH OPERATIONAL COSTS ARE THE UNZA STAFF COSTS WHICH ACCOUNT FOR 80 TO 90 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA.

ARISING FROM FUNDING GAPS, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO INTERMITTENT DELAYED PAYMENT OF SALARIES. FURTHER, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS FALLEN BEHIND IN THE REMITTANCE OF STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS AND SETTLEMENT OF RETIREMENT AND CONTRACT GRATUITIES. MOREOVER, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS FALLEN BEHIND IN PAYING PROVIDERS OF UTILITIES RESULTING IN A MYRIAD OF LITIGATIONS WHICH ARE ALSO VERY COSTLY TO THE INSTITUTION. THE TOTAL UNZA DEBT NOW STANDS AT K4.4 BILLION. ON ITS PART, MANAGEMENT HAS PRODUCED A RESTRUCTURING PLAN WHICH WILL ENTAIL A RIGHTSIZING THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES FROM 2,200 TO 1,300.  THIS WILL BE A 40 PERCENT REDUCTION IN STAFFING. SINCE TO ACHIEVE THIS WE REQUIRE FUNDING, WE SHALL DO IT IN A PHASED MANNER, MOSTLY RELYING ON NATURAL STAFF ATTRITION.

THE ABOVE NOTWITHSTANDING, I APPEAL TO GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE THE GRANT SO THAT IT MEETS MOST IF NOT ALL OF OUR PAYROLL OBLIGATIONS.

ANOTHER KEY COMPONENT IN THE HUGE UNIVERSITY DEBT ARE THE RETIREMENT LIABILITIES AND OUTSTANDING CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS. AS AT 31ST DECEMBER 2020, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA WAS OWING IN EXCESS OF K600 MILLION IN RETIREMENT LIABILITIES. ARISING FROM THE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW TO KEEP RETIRED PERSONS ON THE PAYROLL, THE UNIVERSITY OVERHEADS HAVE INCREASED FURTHER.

I AM GLAD TO REPORT THAT IN FEBRUARY 2021, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA SUCCESSFULLY SECURED  GOVERNMENT SUPPORT WITH A BOND OF K150 MILLION AND A LOAN OF K50 MILLION BOTH FROM ZANACO. SO FAR, ONLY K75 MILLION HAS BEEN DISBURSED. ONCE THE FULL AMOUNT IS DISBURSED, WE PLAN TO SETTLE SOME OF THE OUTSTANDING RETIREMENT AND CONTRACT OBLIGATIONS WITH THE FOLLOWING IMPACT:

RETIREES REMOVED FROM THE PAYROLL                            126

BENEFITS FOR STAFF - DISMISSED/

RESIGNED/MEDICAL CASES                                                147

GRATUITIES FOR CURRENTLY SERVING STAFF                       612

TOTAL                                                                                      885

ANNUAL PLANNED SAVINGS FROM RETIREE

MONTHLY SALARIES                                                       K22.5 MILLION

THIS LOAN HOWEVER STILL FALLS SHORT OF THE K400 MILLION REQUIRED TO CLEAR THE ENTIRE BURDEN. WE CONTINUE TO LOOK TO THE GOVERNMENT TO INTERVENE AND EXPLORE AVAILABLE RESOURCES TO ALLOCATE AT LEAST K400 MILLION TO CLEAR THE RETIREMENT LIABILITIES WHICH ARE HISTORICAL IN NATURE. THE GOVERNMENT APPROVED FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK 2021 TO 2025 PROMISES TO SORT OUT THIS CHALLENGE.

6.0     LOW HANGING FRUITS TO TURN ROUND THE INSTITUTION

I WOULD LIKE TO ASSURE STAKEHOLDERS THAT THE CARETAKER COMMITTEE, MANAGEMENT AND STAFF HAVE NOT SAT BACK IN THE FACE OF UNZA CHALLENGES. WE HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTING A NUMBER OF STRATEGIC INITIATIVES AIMED AT TURNING AROUND THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA AS FOLLOWS:

REDUCING STAFF COSTS: - WORKLOAD POLICY FOR ACADEMIC STAFF:

FROM INCEPTION TO 2019, THE UNIVERSITY HAD NO POLICY TO INFORM WORKLOAD STATUS AMONG TEACHING STAFF. THE ABSENCE OF SUCH A POLICY RESULTED IN UNDER OR OVER UTILIZED STAFF IN SOME INSTANCES RESULTING IN EITHER UNDERSTAFFING OR OVERSTAFFING OF SOME ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS.  

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, THE ACADEMIC WORKLOAD POLICY WAS IMPLEMENTED IN 2019 TO PROVIDE FOR PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES ON DETERMINING THE WORKLOAD FOR ACADEMIC STAFF.  IT DESCRIBES THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF ACADEMIC STAFF AND ALSO DEFINES WHAT CONSTITUTES TEACHING LOAD; NORMAL WORKLOAD; NORMAL WORKING HOURS; EXCESS TEACHING LOAD; AND THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF THE THREE PILLARS OF THE DUTIES OF ACADEMIC STAFF NAMELY TEACHING, RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY SERVICE.  THE POLICY THEREFORE SERVES AS A FAIR, TRANSPARENT AND EFFECTIVE FRAMEWORK FOR THE ALLOCATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF ACADEMIC WORKLOAD FOR ALL ACADEMIC STAFF AS WELL AS PROVIDING A BASIS FOR BUDGETING AND RECRUITMENT OF APPROPRIATE NUMBERS OF ACADEMIC STAFF.

THE POLICY IS SET TO REDUCE STAFF COSTS AT A PROJECTED 16%, TRANSLATING TO AN ESTIMATED K88 MILLION SAVINGS PER ANNUM.

 

FURTHER, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS IMPLEMENTED THE DECISION NOT TO ENGAGE ANY PART-TIME LECTURERS, TUTORS AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT FELLOWS UNLESS ALL THE FULL-TIME ACADEMIC STAFF ARE OPTIMALLY UTILIZED THROUGH THE PRESCRIBED MINIMUM TEACHING WORKLOAD. FURTHERMORE, SINCE THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA ALSO EMPLOYS NON-ACADEMIC STAFF, WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A WORKLOAD POLICY FOR THIS CATEGORY OF STAFF SO THAT ALL STAFF CATEGORIES ARE OPTIMALLY UTILIZED.  

 

GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SERVICE FOR STAFF APPOINTED AFTER 31ST AUGUST 2020:

IN ORDER TO MAKE A CLEAR BREAK FROM THE CURRENT UNSUSTAINABLE CONDITIONS OF SERVICES, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS DEVELOPED AND IMPLEMENTED NEW GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SERVICE FOR STAFF APPOINTED AFTER 31ST AUGUST 2020. THIS INITIATIVE FOLLOWS A GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVE THROUGH THE OFFICE OF THE PERMANENT SECRETARY IN THE MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN 2020 REQUIRING THAT UNZA RESTRUCTURES ITS EMPLOYEE PENSION SCHEMES TO THE EXTENT THAT UNZA SHALL NOT CONTRIBUTE THE EMPLOYEE’S SHARE TO ANY PRIVATE PENSION SCHEME FOR EMPLOYEES RECRUITED AFTER 31ST AUGUST, 2020.  THE GOVERNMENT FURTHER DIRECTED THAT PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS SHOULD ONLY BE MADE TO THE NATIONAL PENSION SCHEME AUTHORITY (NAPSA) TO AVOID ANY FUTURE RECOURSE TO THE TREASURY ON THE PART OF THE UNIVERSITY FOR SETTLEMENT OF RETIREMENT OBLIGATIONS. 

 

EAST PARK MALL

EAST PARK MALL WAS BORN OUT OF A PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA AND GRADUARE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT LIMITED. LAUNCHED IN 2016, EAST PARK MALL HAS BEEN A SUCCESS STORY CONTRIBUTING A NOTEWORTHY REVENUE LINE TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA RECEIVED AN ADVANCE PAYMENT OF US$3,000,000 IN 2018 FROM EAST PARK MALL AND THE SAME HAS BEEN INVESTED IN AMONG OTHERS THE UNZA PRINTER, CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW TEACHING AND LEARNING COMPLEX

 

FREEZE ON RECRUITMENT

 

THE UNIVERSITY HAS FROZEN RECRUITMENT OF NEW STAFF EXCEPT FOR SCARCE AND CRITICAL SKILLS AND ONLY UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

TUITION FEE PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS

IN OUR CUSTOMER VALUE PROPOSITION, WE HAVE SET OURSELVES APART AS PROVIDING WORLD CLASS TRAINING WHICH IS AFFORDABLE AND CAN BE ACCESSED FROM ANY PART OF THE WORLD. THUS, WE OFFER VERY FLEXIBLE PAYMENT TERMS FOR TUITION FEES.

THE FEE SCHEDULE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA INDICATES THE VERY FAVORABLE INSTALMENT PAYMENT PLAN ON TUITION FEES WHICH ALLOWS A STUDENT TO MAKE FOUR INSTALMENTS IN THE ACADEMIC YEAR. THE FIRST INSTALMENT IS PAID AT 25% OF TOTAL TUITION PLUS OTHER FEES, THEN THE BALANCE IS STAGGERED IN THREE OTHER INSTALMENTS AT 25% EACH.

I MAKE A TIMELY PLEA TO REGISTERED STUDENTS, THEIR PARENTS AND SPONSORS: THE PRACTICE THAT UNREGISTERED STUDENTS ARE ALLOWED TO LEARN ON THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY WOULD SETTLE FEES DUE WHEN COLLECTING EXAMINATION RESULTS IS NOW GONE AT UNZA. THE ONLINE SYSTEM OF LEARNING THAT WE HAVE NOW ADOPTED DOES NOT ALLOW UNREGISTERED STUDENTS TO ACCESS OUR SERVICES. FURTHER, WE SHALL NOT ALLOW REGISTERED STUDENTS TO TAKE EXAMINATIONS ON CREDIT. THE REASONS ARE CLEAR: THE PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT ACT NO 1 OF JUNE 2018 COMPELS US TO COLLECT ALL PUBLIC REVENUE WHEN IT FALLS DUE. SECONDLY, WE NEED THE SAME RESOURCES TO FUND OUR OPERATIONS INCLUDING ADMINISTRATION OF EXAMINATIONS.

 

UNSUSTAINABLE CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

ONE OF THE BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS RECORDED IN COST SAVING AT UNZA WAS THE STOPPAGE OF PAYING HOUSING ALLOWANCES TO STAFF ACCOMMODATED IN INSTITUTIONAL HOUSES.  ARISING FROM THIS, UNZA HAS BEEN ABLE TO SAVE UP TO K7 MILLION PER YEAR FROM THE HOUSING ALLOWANCE THAT WAS BEING PAID TO STAFF OCCUPYING INSTITUTIONAL ACCOMMODATION. THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS ALSO RECORDED SAVINGS FROM THE STOPPAGE IN THE PURCHASE OF PERSONAL TO HOLDER MOTOR VEHICLES FOR MANAGERS, DEANS AND DIRECTORS.

UNZA HOLDINGS LIMITED

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS INCORPORATED UNZA HOLDINGS LIMITED. THE PRINCIPLE OBJECT OF THE COMPANY IS TO UNDERTAKE BUSINESS INVESTMENTS, MANAGEMENT OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS AND CARRYOUT CONSULTANCIES INCLUDING CONTRACT RESEARCH. A FULL BOARD OF DIRECTORS IS IN PLACE WITH ITS OPERATIONALIZATION PEGGED TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN 2021.  IT IS ENVISAGED THAT UNZA HOLDINGS WILL ACHIEVE A POSITIVE OPERATING PERFORMANCE FOR ALL THE BUSINESS VENTURES BY 2024.

UNZA PRINTER 

AS PART OF THE EFFORT TO RECAPITALIZE THE BUSINESS VENTURES, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA PROCURED AND INSTALLED AN ULTRA - MODERN INDUSTRIAL PRINTING MACHINE AT UNZA +PRINTER. THIS PRINTER HAS BEEN PROCURED AT A TOTAL COST OF 770,000 EUROS (APPROXIMATELY US$875,000 OF K10,000,000) AND HAS CAPACITY TO PRINT CUSTOM MADE OUTPUTS AS REQUIRED BY CLIENTS. THE PRINTER HAS CAPACITY TO PRINT (IN FULL PERFECT COLOR) 16,000 SHEETS (A1 PAPER SIZE) PER HOUR. I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY THEREFORE TO INVITE ALL ORGANIZATIONS OUT THERE, TO PLACE THEIR PRINTING REQUIREMENTS WITH UNZA PRINTER. IN DOING SO, YOU WILL BE PROMOTING OUR GOAL TO ACHIEVE FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY.

IN THE AREA OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED MEASURES THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS ATTAINMENT OF FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AS FOLLOWS:

CHANGE IN METHOD OF APPOINTMENT OF DEANS AND ACADEMIC DIRECTORS. IN 2019, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA DISCONTINUED THE PROCESS OF APPOINTING DEANS OF SCHOOLS THROUGH ELECTIONS. THESE KEY OFFICES OF THE UNIVERSITY ARE NOW FILLED THROUGH A COMPETITIVE RECRUITMENT PROCESS INVOLVING ADVERTISING, SHORTLISTING AND INTERVIEWS. THIS PROCESS IS AIMED AT BRINGING IN GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFICIENCY IN THE KEY OFFICES OF THE UNIVERSITY. DIVIDENDS TO THIS CHANGE ARE BECOMING EVIDENT.

IMPLEMENTATION OF STAFF PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM. THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA ROLLED OUT THE STAFF PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM IN JANUARY 2017 IN A PHASED APPROACH. THE FIRST PHASE OF ITS IMPLEMENTATION INCLUDED PRINCIPAL OFFICERS AND DEANS AND DIRECTORS IN 2017. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM HAS CONTINUED TO-DATE AND FROM 2020 ALL EMPLOYEES ARE OBLIGED TO SIGN THE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM. THIS IS NOW A PRECONDITION FOR CONTRACT RENEWAL, PROMOTION AND ADJUSTMENTS IN SALARY NOTCHES. ARISING FROM THIS, THE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM IS GRADUALLY ENTRENCHING A CULTURE OF PERFORMANCE IN THE UNIVERSITY.

STAFF ESTABLISHMENT REVIEW

IN ORDER TO ENSURE UNZA’S ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE IS ALIGNED TO ITS STRATEGY, AN ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE REVIEW WAS UNDERTAKEN. THE NEW STRUCTURE AWAITS APPROVAL OF THE CARETAKER COMMITTEE. ONCE IMPLEMENTED, IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT THE OVERALL STAFF ESTABLISHMENT WILL BE REDUCED FROM THE CURRENT 2200 EMPLOYEES TO 1300. THIS DECISION WILL ENSURE THAT UNZA IS TRANSFORMED INTO A FINANCIALLY SUSTAINABLE INSTITUTION. WHEN IMPLEMENTED, THE PROPOSED STRUCTURE WILL REDUCE THE PAYROLL COSTS FROM THE CURRENT K612.71 MILLION PER ANNUM TO K445.41 MILLION PER ANNUM, REPRESENTING A 27% REDUCTION IN THE PAYROLL COSTS; K126.8 MILLION DEBT SWAP WITH NAPSA

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS A 48.8% SHAREHOLDING IN YORK FARM. IN AUGUST 2015, THE BOARD OF YORK FARM PASSED A RESOLUTION TO SELL THE LAND THAT IS OWNED BY THE COMPANY ALONG KAFUE ROAD. FOLLOWING THE SALE OF THIS LAND TO NAPSA, UNZA RECEIVED HER SHARE OF THE SALE PROCEEDS AMOUNTING K126.8 MILLION AND THE SAME WAS APPLIED IN A DEBT SWAP WITH NAPSA. WITH THIS PAYMENT MADE TO NAPSA UNZA RETIREES UP TO DECEMBER, 2017 ARE NOW ACCESSING THEIR PENSIONS FROM NAPSA.

7.       STUDENTS ACCOMMODATION

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA FACES A CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF STUDENT ACCOMMODATION. THERE ARE CURRENTLY 3,887 COMBINED BED SPACES AT BOTH THE RIDGEWAY AND GREAT EAST ROAD CAMPUSES. OUT OF 19,000 RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS WE CAN ONLY ACCOMMODATE 3,000 LEAVING A DEFICIT OF 16,000 BED SPACES. THE GOVERNMENT PROJECT TO CONSTRUCT 26 IN NUMBER 4 STOREY BLOCKS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA WITH A TOTAL BED SPACE OF 4,160 BED SPACES HAS BEEN SLOW ON ACCOUNT OF LIMITED DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS TO COMPLETE CONSTRUCTION WORKS. ADDITIONALLY, THERE ARE 4 IN NUMBER 4 STOREY COJAR HOSTELS WITH A BED SPACE CAPACITY OF 640 WHICH WERE ABANDONED 10 YEARS AGO.

I APPEAL TO GOVERNMENT THAT FUNDING BE SOURCED TO ACHIEVE COMPLETION OF THE STUDENT ACCOMMODATION COVERING A TOTAL BED 4,800 BED SPACES. THIS WILL ALLEVIATE THE ACUTE SHORTAGE OF STUDENT BED SPACES. WE ALSO CALL UPON THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHO ARE BENEFICIARIES OF THE GRADUATES OF UNZA TO COME ON BOARD TO PARTNER WITH GOVERNMENT IN A PPP ARRANGEMENT TO COMPLETE THIS NOBLE PROJECT. 

GIVEN THE CONSTRAINTS WE FACE WITH STUDENT ACCOMMODATION, UNZA MANAGEMENT WILL NOT ALLOW ABUSE OF THE LIMITED BED SPACES THAT WE HAVE. EACH AND EVERY BED SPACE SHALL TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR AND NO ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS AND LANDLORDS OF ANY KIND SHALL BE TOLERATED AT THE TWO CAMPUSES. SINCE THE PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE GIVEN TO US ON 19TH FEBRUARY, 2021, WE HAVE SO FAR EVICTED 60 ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OF STUDENT ROOMS AND THIS EXERCISE IS STILL ONGOING AND WILL NOW BECOME A ROUTINE EXERCISE BY UNZA SECURITY SERVICES. HALL ATTENDANTS SHALL ALSO PROACTIVELY MONITOR THEIR RESPECTIVE HALLS OF RESIDENCE ON A DAILY BASIS.  SOME THE CULPRINTS HAVE BEEN HANDED OVER TO THE POLICE FOR RECIVING MONEY FROM UNSUSPECTING SUDENTS. 

8.       STUDENT LOANS

THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA REMAINS THE NATION’S LEADING PUBLIC UNIVERSITY WITH ACCESS TO ALL ZAMBIANS WHO MEET THE MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS REGARDLESS OF THEIR FINANCIAL AND PHYSICAL ABILITIES. IN DOING SO, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA HAS CONTRIBUTED TO SOCIAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BY CHANGING THE LIVES OF FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES FROM WHICH IT DRAWS ITS STUDENTS. IN THIS PROCESS, THE GOVERNMENT LOANS SCHEME HAS PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGE OF AFFORDABILITY AND ACCESS BY MANY STUDENTS.

HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT LOANS OVER THE YEARS HAVE BEEN DECLINING AND THIS HAS HAD THE EFFECT OF REDUCING THE STUDENT NUMBERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA WITH THE IMPACT MOST FELT AMONG THE FINANCIALLY DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES. THE 2021 INTAKE HAS SEEN A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF LOANS ALLOCATED TO UNZA. I WISH TO COMMEND HIGHER EDUCATION LOANS AND SCHOLARSHIP BOARD FOR THIS GESTURE AND THROUGH THEM THE GOVERNMENT.

9.       CONCLUSION

AS I CONCLUDE, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL OUR STAKEHOLDERS AND STRATEGIC PARTNERS FOR THE SUPPORT YOU HAVE RENDERED TOWARDS THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA. THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA SHOULD ONLY GET BETTER. WE NEED CONCERTED EFFORTS TO TRANSFORM UNZA INTO A SUSTAINABLE UNIVERSITY. OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, RESEARCH OUTPUT AND THE LARGE POOL OF TALENTED AND HIGHLY QUALIFIED STAFF ARE COMPARABLE WITH SOME OF THE BEST UNIVERSITIES AROUND THE WORLD TODAY.

THE UNIVERSITY HISTORICAL DEBT HOWEVER, MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA TO ACHIEVE FULL TRANSFORMATION CHARACTERIZED BY FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY. I APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT THEREFORE TO FULLY IMPLEMENT THE FINANCING STRATEGY TO THE PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES AND IN PARTICULAR TO ASSIST IN LIQUIDATING THE UNIVERSITY DEBT. WE NEED CONCERTED EFFORTS

I ENCOURAGE OUR PARENTS AND EMPLOYERS, TO THINK NO FURTHER BUT BRING THEIR CHILDREN AND STAFF TO TRAIN WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IN ANY ONE OF OUR OVER 270 UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES ACROSS UNZA’S THIRTEEN SCHOOLS AND THREE INSTITUTES.

 

I THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS

PROFESSOR LUKE EVUTA MUMBA

VICE CHANCELLOR