The University of Zambia Vice Chancelllor, Prof. Luke Evuta Mumba, addresses members of the Press (not in picture) on a number of key issues affecting the operations of the University today, Wednesday, 5th April 2017 in the Senate Chamber at the Great East Road campus. He is flanked by UNZA Registrar, Mr Sitali Wamundila (right) and UNZA Dean, Student Affairs, Mr Lastone Zgambo (left). Please read the full statement below.

 IT IS MY GREAT HONOUR TO ADDRESS YOU DURING THIS FIRST QUARTER UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA (UNZA) BREAKFAST PRESS BRIEFING. MY ADDRESS IS AIMED AT SHARING KEY INFORMATION WITH OUR COLLEAGUES FROM THE MEDIA ON THE OPERATIONS OF UNZA FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC, THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND ACROSS SECTION OF STAKEHOLDERS.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

OUR OVERALL VISION AND MISSION IS TO TRANSFORM UNZA AND ENSURE THAT, AS AN INSTITUTION, WE REMAIN MORE RESPONSIVE AND RELEVANT TO THE NEEDS OF THE EMPLOYERS OF OUR GRADUATES AND THE EXPECTATIONS OF OUR STAKEHOLDERS.

AS A UNIVERSITY, WE REMAIN FOCUSED ON OUR ASPIRATION TO REMAIN THE NATION’S LEADER IN KNOWLEDGE CREATION AS WELL AS DEVELOPMENT OF SKILLS THAT WILL ADVANCE THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENDA.

AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN A MAJOR NET HUMAN RESOURCES CONTRIBUTOR IN OUR COUNTRY AND BEYOND OUR BORDERS IN MANY FIELDS SUCH AS MEDICINE, EDUCATION, MINING, ENGINEERING, ACCOUNTING, FINANCE, BUSINESS, ECONOMICS, PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, THE SCIENCES, AGRICULTURE AND SO ON, COVERING 300 DEGREE AND POSTGRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMMES ON OFFER AT THE 13 SCHOOLS UNDER THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA.

WE HAVE DONE THIS WITH RARE DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT TO SERVICE AND EXCELLENCE BY OUR STAFF IN A PERIOD SPANNING OVER 50 YEARS.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

THE EDUCATION SECTOR IS CHANGING. GOVERNMENT POLICY TO STRENGTHEN BASIC EDUCATION HAS BORNE COMMENDABLE RESULTS AS IS EVIDENCED BY THE NOW SIGNIFICANT DEMAND FOR ENTRY INTO TERTIARY EDUCATION.

THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IS CHANGING TOO. EMPLOYERS ARE LOOKING FOR GRADUATE SKILLS THAT WILL HELP THEM CREATE VALUE AND SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS. ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS HAVE BECOME CRITICAL TOO. THE PRESENT DAY GRADUATE MUST HAVE SKILLS TO START A BUSINESS AND CREATE SPINOFFS THAT SUPPORT EMPLOYMENT GENERATION.

AS A UNIVERSITY, WE HAVE POSITIONED OUR SERVICES TO THE CHANGING ENVIRONMENT FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. LET ME SHARE WITH YOU THE FIRST STRATEGIC INTERVENTION WHICH THE UNIVERSITY WILL EMPLOY TO ACHIEVE ITS DESIRED FUTURE. THIS IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE 2018 – 22 STRATEGIC PLAN. THE 2018 – 22 UNZA STRATEGIC PLAN WILL FOCUS ON THE FOLLOWING KEY AREAS OF NATIONAL INTEREST:

1.    IMPROVE RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS WHICH WOULD ULTIMATELY IMPROVE THE RANKING OF UNZA ON THE NATIONAL, CONTINENTAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS.
2.    STRENGTHEN OPEN DISTANCE LEARNING THROUGH THE USE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY.
RECENTLY, THE UNIVERSITY ADOPTED THE E-LEARNING APPROACH TO PROVISION OF HIGHER EDUCATION. THE INSTITUTE FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION AND THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS HAVE TAKEN A LEAD IN OUR EFFORT TO EXPAND ACCESS TO UNZA EDUCATION THROUGH E – LEARNING.
3.    IMPROVE REVENUE BASE THROUGH PRIVATE PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS TO DEVELOP TEACHING AND LEARNING INFRASTRUCTURE SUCH AS LECTURE ROOMS, LABORATORIES, RESEARCH FACILITIES, LECTURERS’ OFFICES, AND STUDENTS’ HOSTELS.
4.    IMPROVE ALIGNMENT BETWEEN THE NEW STRATEGIC THINKING OF THE UNIVERSITY AND THE ORGANISATION STRUCTURE. TO ACHIEVE THIS, WE WILL THIS YEAR UNDERTAKE AN INSTITUTIONAL DIAGNOSIS AND BENCHMARK OUR OPERATIONS WITH BEST PRACTICES OBTAINING IN OUR SECTOR AND IN OTHER INDUSTRIES.
5.    STRENGTHEN OUR LINKS WITH INDUSTRY AND WITH THE PUBLIC SECTOR - CREATE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

THE SECOND MEASURE IS TO RE-ORGANISE OUR BUSINESS VENTURES. WE INVITE STRATEGIC PARTNERS FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO EXPRESS INTEREST IN HOW THEY CAN WORK WITH US IN HOSPITALITY, AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PROCESSING, MINING, PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT AND SO ON.


I MUST MENTION HERE THAT WE HAVE PLANS TO DEVELOP PART OF THE LIEMPE FARM INTO AN ULTRA-MODERN STUDENT VILLAGE WITH 10,000 BED SPACES AND 200 STAFF HOUSES. THE STUDENT VILLAGE WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH ITS OWN POWER GENERATION PLANT.

THE THIRD MEASURE IS TO ENTER INTO STRATEGIC AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED UNIVERSITIES IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUR EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES. SO FAR, THE UNIVERSITY HAS A NUMBER OF AGREEMENTS WITH INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITIES IN VARIOUS AREAS OF COMMON INTEREST. FOR INSTANCE, IN THIS FIRST QUARTER, WE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT WITH JILIN AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY OF CHINA TO ESTABLISH A RESEARCH CENTRE FOR AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES AND RESEARCH.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

THE FOURTH MEASURE IS TO STRENGTHEN OUR ALUMNI OPERATIONS. IN MAY 2016, THE PRESIDENT OF ZAMBIA, PRESIDENT EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU, LAUNCHED THE UNZA ALUMNI OPERATIONS CALLED UNZA ALUMNI RELATIONS AND ADVANCEMENT. THE UNZA ALUMNI RELATIONS AND ADVANCEMENT HAS PLANS TO DEVELOP A 2,000-STUDENT CAPACITY LEARNING AND RESEARCH CENTRE AT THE GREAT EAST ROAD CAMPUS.

ACHIEVEMENTS

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2017, UNZA GRADUATED OVER 5,240 STUDENTS IN VARIOUS FIELDS OF DISCIPLINES. IT MAY INTEREST YOU TO NOTE THAT WE HAVE INCREASED THE NUMBER OF GRADUATES AT POSTGRADUATE LEVEL.

BESIDES, UNZA HAS DEVELOPED ITS QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK TO, AMONG OTHERS, ENSURE THAT ALL UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES ARE CONSTANTLY QUALITY ASSURED.

IN ADDITION, THE OPEN DISTANCE LEARNING POLICY HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AND ADOPTED TO OVERSEE THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WAY WE DELIVER DISTANCE EDUCATION.

THE WORLD BANK HAS ALSO IDENTIFIED UNZA AS ONE OF THE TWO WORLD BANK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN ZAMBIA. THERE ARE 24 WORLD BANK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN AFRICA AND THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IS ONE OF THEM. OUR CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE STATUS WILL FOCUS ON VETERINARY SCIENCES PARTICULARLY THE STUDY OF DISEASE THAT ARE TRANSMITTED BETWEEN HUMANS AND ANIMALS (ZOONOTIC DISEASES).

CHALLENGES

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,

NOTWITHSTANDING, THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA FACES A NUMBER OF CHALLENGES:-

1.    AT THE TOP OF THE LIST IS THE LEVEL OF INDEBTEDNESS. THE UNIVERSITY DEBT CURRENTLY SITS AT K2.5 BILLION. AS A UNIVERSITY, WE ARE DETERMINED TO MAKE THE REQUIRED REFORMS TO GENERATE REVENUE AND REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCY ON PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE CURRENT 90% TO 50% IN THE MEDIUM TO LONG TERM.
2.    INADEQUATE STUDENT ACCOMMODATION. WHILE UNZA NOW HAS 31,000 STUDENTS FROM ABOUT 312 AT INCEPTION IN 1966, STUDENT ACCOMMODATION HAS LARGELY REMAINED STATIC AT 3,700.
3.    THE TEACHING AND LEARNING INFRASTRUCTURE HAS EQUALLY NOT GROWN SUFFICIENTLY TO MEET THE GROWING NUMBER OF STUDENTS AND PROGRAMMES.

FUTURE OUTLOOK

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,

EDUCATION IS CRITICAL TO NATIONAL BUILDING AND, INDEED, TO ACHIEVING THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS WE SET OURSELVES AS A COUNTRY. KNOWLEDGE IS A KEY FACTOR FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH ESPECIALLY KNOWLEDGE IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION.

THERE ARE MANY NEW CHALLENGES SO WE NEED NEW KNOWLEDGE AND NEW SKILLS TO TACKLE NEW CHALLENGES.  WE NEED THE NEW KNOWLEDGE GENERATED THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION IN ORDER TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN THE GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY AND TO ATTRACT FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS

INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION IS AN INVESTMENT INTO YOUR FUTURE. THEREFORE, UNZA WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENDA THROUGH EDUCATION. TO ACHIEVE THIS, WE SHALL HARNESS THE POWER OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO EXPAND ACCESS, QUALITY AND REVENUE.

I SEE THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA IN THE NEXT 50 YEARS, AS A MAJOR NET CONTRIBUTOR TO THE NATION’S SKILLS REQUIREMENTS IN BUSINESS, THE SCIENCES, MEDICINE, HEALTH, EDUCATION, MINING, ENGINEERING AND SOCIAL SCIENCES.

I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK MEMBERS OF THE PRESS FOR FINDING TIME TO BE WITH US THIS MORNING.

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU.

PROF LUKE MUMBA
VICE CHANCELLOR

 Some UNZA staff and members of the press listen to UNZA Vice Chancellor, Prof. Luke Mumba (not in picture), as he addresses the media on the operations of UNZA.