UNZA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Luke Evuta Mumba (centre), addressing members of the Press during the Breakfast Press Briefing held at the Great East Road campus, in the Senate Chamber on Monday, 21 August 2017. He was accompanied by UNZA Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Enala Tembo-Mwase (left) and Registrar, Mr Sitali Wamundila (right).

The University of Zambia (UNZA) Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Luke Evuta Mumba, says that the UNZA has played a pivotal and strategic role in the development of the nation since its inception in 1966 and called on everyone who values education to support the institution of higher learning.

Prof. Mumba said this during the second Breakfast Press Briefing held at UNZA, Great East Road Campus, Senate Chamber, on Monday, 21st August 2017 to highlight some major operational achievements and challenges faced by the University in its course of duty.

In his speech, Prof. Mumba discussed a number of issues with the media such as:

1.    Admission of first year students
2.    Non-payment of fees
3.    Government’s roadmap to dismantle UNZA debt
4.    2018 – 2022 UNZA Business Strategic Plan
5.    Set up of Maize Milling and Processing plant
6.    The Commonwealth Youth Centre assets
7.    Construction of the Multi-purpose Teaching and Learning Centre
8.    Development of a new wheat seed variety.

For more information, please refer to the Vice-Chancellor’s speech below:

SECOND PRESS BRIEFING BY THE VICE CHANCELLOR PROF LUKE MUMBA HELD IN THE SENATE CHAMBER FROM 10:00HRS ON MONDAY 21ST AUGUST 2017

•    THE DEPUTY VICE CHANCLLOER
•    THE REGISTRAR
•    THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN
•    THE DEAN OF STUDENTS
•    THE BURSAR
•    DEANS AND DIRECTORS HERE PRESENT
•    MEMBER OF STAFF
•    MEMBERS OF THE PRESS INVITED TODAY

I welcome you to the University of Zambia this morning and to the second Press Briefing in 2017.

On the 5th of April 2017, I addressed the media on a number of key areas relating to the operations of the University of Zambia.
You will recall that we reflected on the following:

i.    Our effort to strengthen the University of Zambia research and publications which should improve the regional and international ranking of the University of Zambia;

I acknowledge that this is an ongoing activity in all the Schools and the three Institutes of the University of Zambia.

ii.    The University debt which stood at K2.5 billion;

On behalf of Council, Management and staff of the University of Zambia, I would like to express sincere gratitude to government for approving a plan to dismantle the University debt in a phased manner from 2018.

I assure government of the commitment of Management to implement measures both in the current strategic plan and in the 2018 – 2022 strategic plan to create a viable University.

iii.    The need to re-organise the business ventures;

The University of Zambia reiterates its intention to re-organise the business ventures namely Marshlands Village, UNZA Printer, UNZA Horticultural Nursery.
University of Zambia Council has approved a proposal to secure strategic partners in a private public partnership arrangement. Thus, the business community is invited to express interest.

Council has further approved to recapitalize UNZA Printer at a total cost of US$800,000. Procurement processes have since started to invest in the said funds into ultra-modern multi - functional commercial printer.

In addition, the University of Zambia will soon re-organise UNZA Radio, UNZA Veterinary Clinic, UNZA Clinic and the Mechanical workshop. Each of these undertakings will be restructured into commercial ventures while retaining their beneficial use for academic purposes.

iv.    Our efforts to strengthen strategic partnerships and linkages with industry;

I would like to recognize the work of our collaborating partners in strengthening our teaching, research, scholarship and infrastructure.
The Christian Blind Mission (CBM) of Germany are helping to build the special education centre in the School of Education, Tullow Zambia B.V have provided us with funds to refurbish laboratories in the School of Mines, Zesco Limited recently refurbished the Electrical Engineering laboratory in the School of Engineering, ZCCM Investment Holdings are also supporting the Schools of Mines,  CARE International has helped us to construct the office building for the Department of Food Science and Astria Learning are supporting the use of  E Learning technologies in our academic programmes.

I also acknowledge the work of other partners I may not have mentioned here.

v.    The launch of the alumni relations and advancement operation;

I will discuss some further developments in this area later in my remarks.

MAIN ISSUES FOR TODAY’S PRESS BRIEFING 

I now turn to the main issues I intend to address this morning:

1.    THECOMMONWEALTH YOUTH CENTRE ASSETS

With the regards to the Commonwealth Youth Centre (CYP), the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sport have agreed that the assets at the CYP revert to the University of Zambia.

I am therefore pleased to announce that the University of Zambia has begun to use the premises for its core activities.

2.    APPROVED OPEN LEARNING POLICY

The University of Zambia Senate recently approved the Open Learning policy which will provide guidance in the provision of distance and online education at the University. UNZA has adopted the innovations in the ICT sector in order to meet the increasing demand in higher education in Zambia, in the region and across the continent.

So the policy will provide the necessary guidelines in the provision of higher education by the University and ensure quality assurance throughout the processes of delivering higher education.

3.    NEW WHEAT SEED VARIETY

The School of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Zambia, through diligent research and trials, has developed a new wheat variety which can withstand heat and grow in valleys and other hot places.

The known wheat variety can only be grown in cool temperatures. In Zambia, wheat is normally grown during the May – August period. However, this new variety of wheat seeds has been tested and proved to show the following exciting features:

a.    Withstand heat which means it can be grown during hot seasons and in valleys
b.    It uses less fertiliser when compared the known variety. Farmers can make good savings.
c.    The new variety can yield 12 tons per hectare. It has a higher yield and can significantly contribute to the national food basket and improve food security.

The new wheat variety is patented and is ready for industrial uptake by any seed producing company. Thus, UNZA is ready to enter in an agreement with any seed producing company.

4.    THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA TO SET UP A MAIZE MILLING AND PROCESSING PLANT.

I am glad to mention that we are on course with plans to develop part of the Liempe farm into an ultra-modern student village with 10,000 bed spaces and 200 staff houses. I will provide further updates in the near future as soon as a strategic partner is secured.

I am also delighted to mention that with regards to the operations of the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre (ATDC), government of the Republic of Zambia in partnership with the Government of the People’s Republic of China are finalizing an agreement to set up a maize milling and processing plant at the Demonstration Centre located at UNZA’s Liempe farm.

The plant will have capacity to process 40 tons of maize in a day. This investment once established will be used by the University of Zambia to strengthen the ability of the ATDC to be self - sustaining. Additionally, the plan will be used for teaching and research purposes in food science.

5.    CONSTRUCTION OF THE UNZA MULTI-PURPOSE TEACHING AND LEARNING CENTRE

In its quest to meet the fast increasing demand for quality higher education services, the University of Zambia has teamed up with its alumni, individual and corporate friends to construct a K200-million multi-purpose facility centre at its Great East Road campus which will house laboratories, lecture theatres, offices, conference facilities and library. In order to achieve this milestone, the University has established the UNZA Alumni Relations and Advancement with its own Board of Directors to overseer this exciting project.

I call upon friends and alumni of the University to partner with the University of Zambia and support the construction of the Centre. In phase one of this project, we will be seeking to raise Fifty Million Kwacha (K50,000,000.00).

Thus, on Friday 20th October 2017, the University will hold its annual fundraising dinner at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre which will be graced by His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I therefore invite our cooperating partners to join us at this major fund raising event.

6.    2018 – 2022 STRATIGIC PLAN

In line with good business practice, the University of Zambia is the process of producing its 2018 – 2022 Business Strategic Plan. This will act as our roadmap in achieving strategic goals of improving the delivery of quality higher education and our revenue generation.

In May 2017, University management undertook a comprehensive diagnosis of the Institution and identified key acupuncture points for UNZA.

Thus, the strategic plan 2018 – 2022 will contain salient strategic directions that will seek to change and transform the institution so that it can run efficiently and effectively while pursing the power of entrepreneurship with passion in all schools and units.

7.    ADMISSION OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS

In recent years, the University of Zambia has seen an improvement in performance by applicants who want to study in different programmes. There is been a consistent improvement in the performance of school leavers in general. We have witnessed many applicants with five (5) to six (6) points – both female and male applicants. So this situation has compelled the University Senate to set higher admission points in order admit the limited number of students that its infrastructure for teaching and learning can accommodate.

Thus, for the 2017/18 admissions, the admission points range from six (6) points (in School of Natural Sciences) to nine (9) points (in Social Work) in School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The entry points in the School of Education range between 8 and 17 points.

I would like the public to understand that admission points adjust or vary depending on the performance of both school leavers. The University of Zambia admission policy is to get the very best of applicants and live up to our motto: Service and Excellence.

Let me also take this opportunity to announce that in order for the University to avoid the perennial problem we are facing of admitting students who cannot pay fees for various reasons, this year’s admissions for first years are all provisional admissions.   This means that admission will only be confirmed upon provision of a letter of sponsorship and/or payment of fees upfront. The flexible payment method which allowed students to pay in instalments has been abused by students and their sponsors and will forthwith be discontinued.

8.    PERMITTING DEFAULTING STUDENTS TO WRITE END-OF-YEAR EXAMS

Recently, the University of Zambia management decided to bar students who had not paid their fees in full from writing their end-of-academic-year examinations. As stated earlier, the university has three sources of income namely government grant (28%) and tuition fees (69%) and others (3%). It is important we understand that the University of Zambia requires tuition fee income to operate and to administer examinations as per 2017 budget.

And the consequences of the University of Zambia not collecting the Forty Million kwacha outstanding in tuition fees include failure to settle outstanding utility bills namely electricity (K1.8 million), water (K1.8million), internet services (K1.8 million), Insurance, contempt of courts on judgements entered against the University of Zambia to settle statutory obligations, industrial unrest following failure to pay salary arrears as per collective agreements. 

However, while government has been consistent in honouring its obligations, the University has faced a lot of challenges in collecting fees from students, particularly self-sponsored ones. Therefore, following the issuance of the decision to ban defaulting students, management has witnessed positive movements in the payments of fees.

At the same time, the University management also engaged in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders involved including students union, UNZASU, parents/guardians as well as sponsors.

After taking into consideration all submissions and concerns of stakeholders, as a listening management, we reached a decision to allow the registered students to sit for their examinations with the conditions that:

(a)    Those who will not clear their arrears will have their results withheld.
(b)    This entails that students in their final years would not graduate.
(c)    And returning students would not register without results.
(d)    Those with sponsors, may not be awarded sponsorship without results.

In this regard, students alongside their parents or guardians/sponsors are required to sign commitment letters indicating the date when they will pay the fees in full but that should be before the opening of the 2017/18 Academic year which commences in November 2017.

It is our considered view that students, parents/guardians and sponsors would respect this kind gesture and honour their commitment.

Ladies and gentlemen, the University of Zambia plays a very strategic role in the nation. I appeal to everyone who values education to assist this institution to survive and not to collapse.

The collapse of a nation does not require use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and the quality of graduates. The consequences will be seen in the high mortality of our people at the hands of poor quality doctors, the building will erect shall collapse at the hands of such engineers, money will be misappropriated at the hands of poorly trained accountants, humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars and justice is lost in the hands of such judges.

Thus the collapse of education, is the collapse of the nation.

UNZA must therefore live on.

UNZA must continue to be the beacon and catalyst for socio-economic development, growth and knowledge generation.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

I would to thank everyone for coming to this morning’s media briefing. I thank in particular the media for their support.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Prof Luke Mumba
VICE CHANCELLOR