Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo, says the government will not allow over enrolment of students in nursing learning institutions across the country.
Ms. Masebo has observed that over enrolment in nursing schools if not well managed, may have serious short, medium and long term effects on service delivery in the country.
Speaking when she toured Kabwe College of Nursing and Midwifery, Ms. Masebo said the unprecedented overcrowding in classes at training institutions in the country is a threat to the very essence of service delivery in the health sector.
“Most nursing schools are over-enrolling; this may have an effect on teaching and learning. It is a well-known fact that lecturers are failing to cope with students’ increasing numbers and this has an impact on the general nursing education in Zambia,” Ms. Masebo noted.
Ms. Masebo said the exam pass rate at Kabwe College of Nursing and Midwifery has dropped from 100 percent to 62 percent due to over enrolment.
She noted that the over-enrolment in nursing schools is making the tutor- student ratios in classes much more unhealthy, creating uncharacteristic environments for teaching and learning.
“Supervision of students in the clinical section is not effectively done, even issues of the practical are not effectively done because of over enrolment, ” she noted.
The minister observed that most facilities were more interested in getting money from students and parents while forgetting about planning on how to expand their spaces of learning.
“Out of economic desires to grow, most facilities have overburdened themselves by chewing what they can’t swallow, hence the overcrowding we are seeing today that has affected quality service delivery,” she said.
She expressed the concern after realizing that Kabwe Central Hospital Nursing School which initially planned to enroll 70 students last January had enrolled over 130 students.
Ms. Masebo has since directed the Permanent Secretary for Technical Services at the Ministry of Health and the department of nursing to go round and check on the over enrolment in both private and government health schools of learning.
Meanwhile, Kabwe Central Hospital, Senior Medical Superintendent, Victor Kusweje, has reiterated the need for decongestion of nursing learning institutions if quality education is to be provided.
Dr. Kusweji stated that most of the challenges being faced by learning institutions were as a result of over enrolment.
“Currently the main issues that the school has are the high number of students that would relate to the teaching aspect as well as how they are being kept at the institution,” Dr Kusweje said.
Dr. Kusweji said the high numbers raise questions about the effectiveness of teaching to the students and that is what the school was trying to resolve.
And speaking earlier, Kabwe College of Nursing and Midwifery Principal Tutor, Alice Banda, said the institution has turned the dining hall into a lecture room as a way of mitigating the shortage of the learner space.
Ms. Banda said the institution is currently saving some money to build a classroom that would accommodate about 200 learners.
“For this we are lobbying through the ministry of health for financial and material support to help us build a 200 capacity learners classroom to mitigate space shortage,” she said.