Education Hope Foundation Board Vice Chairperson Aaron Chansa has challenged companies operating in Zambia to help overcome the huge shortage of desks in schools countrywide.
Mr. Chansa said with the re-introduction of free education, local schools need up to about 2 million desks to cushion the deficit.
He observed that many learners in schools countrywide are sitting on the floor owing to increased enrolment.
Mr. Chansa said companies should consider donating desks to schools in their localities to improve the quality of education.
He was speaking when Hope Foundation partnered with Hitachi Construction to donate 32 desks to Insakwe Reformatory School for Female Juvenile Offenders located in Ndola in the Copperbelt Province.
Mr. Chansa saluted Hitachi Construction for facilitating the donation of 32 desks to Insakwe School.
“We are going to go out to mobilise more desks so that we can be second occupant of this school. Insakwe must be our second and Hitachi must be our all weather partner. I am also excited that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services respects the fact that education is a public good that must be consumed by everyone regardless of their legal status in society. Regardless of whatever offence they have done to society. They have allowed our girls here to continue consuming this public good that we all know as a key to success. You can’t deal without education in this century,” Mr. Chansa said.
“So, the Ministry must be supported, whilst we reform our girls here, we must give them education and from where I come from myself, we don’t just demand education we demand for quality education because poorly educated people are very dangerous to society. So, I will not be happy to come next year and find that there is poor quality here. We want quality education to be provided and this is the reason why I want to thank the management here for opening up the doors.Let me say something about our corporate world. I don’t think that some of our challenges we face today could have been faced if all the companies in Zambia were like Hitachi. Can you imagine if all companies donated 30 desks to schools? Are we going to have learners sitting on the floor? No. By 2019, the education sector in Zambia had a deficit of 1.3 million desks. With the coming in of the free education policy, we are estimating that we need 2 million desks in this country. I have been to all provinces of this country, learners today are sitting on the floor and we have thousands of companies making profits and that is why I took time to thank Hitachi for ploughing back into the community,” he said.
Mr. Chansa has since appealed to the Government to formulate a policy that will make corporate social responsibility among companies mandatory.
“I want to make a call to all companies in this country to emulate Hitachi and identify a school nearby and donate desks, donate computers, donate books and build houses for teachers. I also want to further challenge companies in Ndola to come and build a classroom block at this school. We can’t be struggling with inadequate classrooms when Ndola is dotted with nothing but companies. I also want to appeal to the government to introduce a policy, corporate social responsibility policy that is going to compel companies in Zambia to at least pay back to the community. We need that policy as soon as possible. I found this policy in Malawi. In Zambia it is possible to have this policy. As Education Hope Foundation we call upon the Minister of Justice or the Minister of Community Development to initiate a policy that is going to compel companies to pay back to companies,” Mr. Chansa said.
Young offenders interviewed by reporters said they were pleased with the skills training being offered at Juvenile Reformatory School called Insakwe in Ndola.
Some juvenile offenders said the skills they are acquiring in tailoring, poultry and gardening will help them as they integrate in society after serving their sentences.
Others highlighted some challenges they are facing such as lack of transport when going to access health services from the school.
Ndola District Commissioner Joseph Phiri, who was the guest of honour, said all children deserve to be educated even if they are in conflict with the law.