ZAMBIA: Two more state universities

Zambia will create two more state universities and a teacher training college that specialises in the sciences, Minister of Finance and National Planning Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane announced in this year's budget speech. He said the universities would be established through the conversion of training colleges.

Laying out the 2009 budget plans in parliament at the end of last month, Musokotwane said the government had set aside funding of 207.9 billion kwacha (US$38 million) for the country's three existing public universities.

Musokotwane announced that the Copperbelt Secondary Teacher Training College and the Kwame Nkrumah Teacher Training College would be converted into new university colleges this year at a cost of five billion kwacha. The government would also convert the dilapidated Mulakupikwa Police Training College in the Chinsali district into a teacher training college specialising in sciences, also at a cost of five billion kwacha.

The government's focus was to enhance infrastructure and skills development, the Finance Minister said. The development of technical, vocational and entrepreneurship training in Zambia was of great importance as it provided a gateway to training a significant number of young citizens eager to acquire skills that could lead them towards gainful work.

He added that that Zambia's budget was being presented at a difficult time, first on account of a recession in advanced economies triggered by turbulence in their financial markets, and second because of significantly slower growth in emerging countries.

"The government will continue to invest in human capital development in order to enhance productivity and contribute to the attainment of a vibrant economy. This investment will enable our children and youth to become skilled and industrious citizens and thereby escape the shackles of poverty," Musokotwane said.