Regulating Higher Education

From Zambian Economist Wed Feb 20 2013, 23:32:00

By Chola Mukanga

Government has drafted the High Education Bill, which is intended to put in place a new regulatory for higher learning institutions in the country. Education Minister John Phiri says once enacted into law, higher learning institutions operating below the required standards will face the law. He believes that there are too many higher learning institutions that do not befit the title "higher learning".

The draft Bill is a direct fulfilment of the PF Manifesto, which promised to create a new independent regulatory body to register and enforce education standards in public and private universities. The PF initiative of course builds on what the MMD administration begun with introduction of a National Qualifications Framework in Education Bill 2011. Indeed it should be clear for the record that MMD also called for such a new Regulator in its manifesto. One hopes the proposed new Regulator will sort out our current higher education mess.

It cannot be denied our higher education is a total mess. The current constrained supply of public universities has led to poor quality higher education in general. The excess demand in higher education has led to the mushrooming of poor and unregulated alternatives to the two universities (CBU and UNZA). Desperate students who cannot get into these two universities and cannot go abroad to study (which is another problem if they never return) often find themselves paying extortionate amounts of money just to get into "B class" colleges offering "accredited" degrees from foreign universities carrying popular but meaningless brand names. Its not ...

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