THE announcement by Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo that government will extend the education loans to include students at all public and private institutions of high learning, is a great move and needs commendation.
Like Professor Luo rightly stated, it was indeed unfair students from other institutions of learning were side-lined when they also struggled to pay their fees.
We wish to observe that, this decision by government is as it is in fact supposed to be.
We say so because all students in our public and private institutions of learning are first and foremost, Zambians, who should be entitled to every form of assistance or support from their government in their education endeavour.
It does not matter the institutions they may be at – they are all citizens of this nation.
Secondly, the students, irrespective of which instruction they may be at, whether private or public, face the very same struggles in paying tuition and other fees. They come ‘from together’ after all.
Thirdly, the money that government gives to students is not free money but loans. It is money which will be returned once the beneficiaries start work.
Why the government should be selective on which student should be given the loan or not be given the loan actually begs the question.
History has taught us that, in this country, there has always been a tendency by those in government to favour those in the private sector.
People working or learning in public institutions have usually been given preference when it comes to getting support (loans, scholarships etc.) and appointments. It’s as if, they are more Zambian than those from the private sector.
But the truth is, whether one is from the public or private sector, they are firstly and foremost, Zambians who should equally benefit from all and everything that their nation and government has to offer.
The institution or workplace they may be at is immaterial or irrelevant when it comes to accessing government assistance and support. What should only matter is their nationality. Period.
This is the very reason we are impressed that government has now come to realise this aspect and has decide to extend the education loan facility to all students.
We should bear in mind that each and every one of them, whether at a public or private instruction of higher learning, is aspiring to acquire knowledge and skills to be able to equally contribute to the growth of this country Zambia.