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line Home arrow Debates & Proceedings arrow Third Session of the Tenth Assembly arrow Debates- Tuesday, 10th February, 2009 Saturday, 02 August 2014  
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Debates- Tuesday, 10th February, 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 February 2009
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Debates- Tuesday, 10th February, 2009
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DAILY PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES FOR THE THIRD SESSION OF THE TENTH ASSEMBLY

Tuesday, 10th February, 2009

The House met at 1430 hours

[MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair]

NATIONAL ANTHEM

PRAYER

_____

ANNOUNCEMENTS

ACTING LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IN THE HOUSE

Madam Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, in the absence of His Honour the Vice-President who is attending to other national duties, Hon. G. W. Mpombo, MP, Minister of Defence has been appointed Acting Leader of Government Business in the House from today, Tuesday, 10th to Wednesday, 11th February, 2009.

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

EXHIBITION BY THE LUSAKA NATIONAL MUSEUM

Madam Deputy Speaker: I wish to inform the House that the Lusaka National Museum in collaboration with the Commonwealth Forestry Associations, Zambia Branch and Mike’s Agricultural Products Enterprise (MIAPEN) Zambia Crafts will be conducting an exhibition of arts and crafts for hon. Members of Parliament. The exhibition will take place in the main reception area of Parliament Buildings from 11th to 20th February, 2009. This exhibition is being done under a programme called “They Lived Science”. The theme of the exhibition is “Monkey Orange: a Small Story with Big Issues.”

Among other issues, the programme aims at promoting environmental sustainability through cultural heritage, forestry and innovations.

Hon. Members are invited to attend the official launch of the exhibition on Wednesday, 11th February, 2009 at 0930 hours on the terrace in front of Parliament Buildings.

Thank you.

_____

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

2008 GRADE 9 EXAMINATION AND 2009 GRADE 10 SELECTION

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa): Madam Speaker, I rise to make a Ministerial Statement on the 2008 Grade 9 Examination and 2009 Grade 10 Selection.

Madam, I wish to inform the nation that the processing of the 2008 Grade 9 Examination has now been completed and the selection exercise of the Grade 10 pupils for the 2009 academic year has been concluded.

Madam Speaker, before I highlight the salient features of both the examination and selection, I would like to inform the nation through this august House that the practice of selecting pupils to Grade 10 using the cutoff point system has been stopped. Selection of pupils to Grade 10 will be based on obtaining a full certificate.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: All the pupils who manage to obtain a full certificate in the Grade 9 Examination shall proceed to Grade 10.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the following features are to be noted:

Number of Candidates

In 2008, 254,032 candidates (134,101 boys and 119,931 girls) registered for the examinations compared to 218,736 (116,495 boys and 102,639 girls) candidates in 2007. This is an increase of 16.1 per cent in the number entered in 2007. The total number of candidates who sat for the examinations in 2008 was 228,107 (121,365 boys and 106,742 girls) compared to 189,599 (102,354 boys and 87,065 girls) candidates in 2007. 

Number Selected

Madam Speaker, following the change in the policy of selection of pupils to Grade 10, all the candidates who obtained full Grade 9 Certificates in all the provinces have been selected to Grade 10.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: The number of candidates with full certificates who have been selected to Grade 10 is 110,798 (64,797, boys and 46,001 girls). This gives a progression rate of 48.57 per cent (53.39 for boys and 43.1 per cent for girls) compared to 37.15 per cent in 2007.

Madam Speaker, this year’s progression rate is 11.42 per cent more than that of 2007. This indicates that more children have been accorded an opportunity to proceed to high school.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the performance percentages province by province are as follows:

(i) Northern Province had  21,676 candidates who sat for the examination, out of this number, 10,019 have full certificates (6,703 boys and 3,316 girls), giving a pass rate of 46.22 per cent compared to 41.8 per cent in 2008;

(ii) Luapula Province had 14,225 candidates who sat for the examination. Out of these, 7,323 candidates (4,838 boys and 2,485 girls) obtained full certificates, giving a pass rate of 51.48 per cent compared to 58.4 per cent in 2007;

(iii) Southern Province had 28,901 candidates who sat for the examination. Out of these, 14,406 candidates (8,407 boys and 5,999 girls) obtained full certificates, giving a pass rate of  49.85 per cent compared to 53.09 per cent in 2007;

(iv) Eastern Province had 19,003 candidates who sat for the examination. Out of this number, 9,084 candidates (5,967 boys and 3,117 girls) obtained full certificates giving a pass rate of 47.80 per cent compared to 53.35 per cent in 2007;

(v) Copperbelt had 52,568 candidates who sat for the examination. Out of this number, 24,221 candidates (12,851 boys and 11,350 girls) obtained full certificates, giving a pass rate of 46.04 per cent compared to 49.46 in 2007;

(vi) North-Western Province had a total of 12,379 candidates (7,353 boys and 5,026) who sat for the examination, 6,278 candidates (3,878 boys and 2,405 girls) obtained full certificates, giving a pass rate of 50.71 per cent compared to 49.20 per cent in 2007;

(vii) Central Province had a total of 23,766 candidates (12,567 boys and 11,199 girls) who sat for the examination, 12,468 candidates (7,199 boys and 5,349 girls) obtained full certificates, giving a pass rate of 52.46 per cent compared to 49.17 per cent in 2007;

(viii) Western Province had 12,222 candidates (6,885 boys and 5,337 girls) who sat for the examination. Out of this number 5,966 candidates (3,554 boys and 2,412 girls) obtained full certificates, giving a pass rate 48.81 per cent compared to 45.57 per cent in 2007; and

(ix) Lusaka Province had 43,367 candidates (21,255 boys and 22,112 girls) who sat for the examination. Those who obtained full certificates were 21,053 (11,485 boys and 9,568 girls) giving a pass rate of 48.55 per cent compared to 54.07 per cent in 2007.

Absentees

Madam Speaker, out of 254,032 candidates who entered for examination, 25,925 candidates (12, 736 boys and 13,189 girls) were absent from the examinations compared to 29,116 in 2007. Luapula Province had the lowest rate of absenteeism at 7.80 per cent (6.91 per cent boys and 9.11 per cent girls). Western Province had the highest absenteeism rate at 13.27 per cent (11.96 per cent boys and 14.91 per cent girls) …

Mr Sing'ombe: Matokwani!

Professor Lungwangwa: … followed by North-Western Province at 13.21 per cent (12.58 per cent boys and 14.11 per cent girls)

Overall, there was a decrease in absenteeism which was at 10.21 per cent in 2008 compared to 13.32 per cent in 2007. Madam, factors such as relocation resulting from deaths in the family, especially of parents or guardians and to a certain extent, early marriages, pregnancies, deaths and loss of interest in learning are accountable for the absenteeism.

Madam Speaker, in order to curb absenteeism, the Ministry of Education has put a number of strategies in place such as school bursaries for the vulnerable school-going children and school feeding programmes in some schools. In addition, the ministry has strengthened guidance and counselling in schools.

Examination Malpractices

Madam Speaker, only fifty-six candidates were involved in examination malpractices in the 2008 Examinations. The nature of malpractices was largely related to smuggling of material into examination rooms by the candidates and being assisted in the examination rooms. The stringent measures the ministry has adopted to cur malpractices are paying dividends.

Schools were closely monitored during the examinations period by standards officers from all levels, officers from the Examinations Council of Zambia as well as officers from the security wings of Government.

Special Education Needs

Madam Speaker, 196 candidates (120 boys and 76 girls) with special education needs sat for the examination in 2008. Out of this number, 118 pupils (74 boys and 44 girls) were selected to Grade 10.

Release of the Results

Madam Speaker, members of the public are advised to obtain the results from the schools where pupils wrote their examinations. No results will be given from the Ministry of Education Headquarters or the Examinations Council of Zambia.

Opening Dates

Madam, Grade 10 classes will begin on Monday 16th February, 2009. The grace period ends on Friday, 27th February, 2009. Pupils who fail to report at their respective schools by the end of the grace period will lose their places.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Lay the paper on the Table!

Laughter

Madam Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the Hon. Minister of Education.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwenzi): Madam Speaker, what criteria is the ministry using in selecting pupils to technical schools?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, I am not quite sure what the hon. Member is asking because the criteria is set namely; a full certificate at the Grade 9 level.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Madam Speaker, from the ministerial statement, it is clear that in all categories, we seem to have more boys than girls sitting for examinations, and yet we know that we have more girls in terms of population compared to boys. My question is: When is the hon. Minister going to extend the Free Education Policy to Grade 12?

Mr Magande: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, we have a committee that has been working on that particular issue and it has not yet completed its work. The issues that are being looked into are those of the cost of extending free education to Grade 12; taking into account the number of pupils to be involved; the number of teachers to be recruited; the procurement of educational materials; classrooms to be constructed and various other valuables which go into that kind of provision.

The hon. Member will appreciate that this particular exercise is extremely onerous. A lot of data gathering and analysis is required. This is what this committee is doing. At the moment we cannot precisely say when that exercise will be completed. However, my officers are working extremely hard in this exercise. Of course, a final document will be brought to the attention of the Government.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Madam Speaker, looking at the pass rate that the hon. Minister has given, it is evident that half the classes are failing. What would we attribute this to? Have you now got qualified teachers to teach Grades 8 and 9? In the past, the same teachers who taught Grade 7 also taught Grades 8 and 9.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, if we look closely at the statistics, especially the progression rate, we can see that there is progress in terms of the proportion of pupils who are leaving Grade 9, going to Grade 10. For example, last year we were talking about a progression rate of 37 percent and now we are talking of about more than 48 percent progression rate and that is an improvement as far as the proportion of children who are passing the examination, going to Grade 10 is concerned.

Madam Speaker, I would not say that half are failing, but that, yes, there is, like in every other examination, an appreciable improvement in the performance of pupils.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr C. B. K. Banda, Sc. (Chasefu): Madam Speaker, I note that the pass rate for the Eastern Province has reduced from 53.7 percent or thereabout to 47.8 percent. What factor or combination of factors is responsible for this reduction and what do you intend to do to ensure that come next year, the pass rate will improve.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker that is what we are doing, not only in the Eastern Province but also in the other provinces as well where there has been a drop in the pass rate. In our post examination analysis, there are a number of factors we are taking into account to examine, for example, why certain provinces have had a drop in the performance compared to last year. There are, of course, a number of factors which have to be looked into, for example, the teacher-pupil ratio, textbook-pupil ratios and various other factors which go into examination performance of pupils.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Madam Speaker, it is public knowledge that in every district, there are basic schools, upper basic schools and in certain instances, high schools. The question that begs an answer is, what criterion is the ministry going to use for those pupils who will be accepted to high schools that have boarding facilities based on the statement by the hon. Minister.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, clearly, I did not understand the question because the criteria for going into our different categories of schools, boarding, day or technical, is based on the full certificate that has been obtained. I am not quite sure what the hon. Member is asking about because the criterion is uniform, whether for a boarding school or any other school.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Madam Speaker, the points cut off system was designed to tailor the number of students who pass to the number of schools or places available. In the event of changing the system to full certificate, I would like the hon. Minister to inform the nation whether we now have enough infrastructure to cater for the extra number of pupils who come through the full certificate system and what will happen to the other pupils who were cut-off but had full certificates before this year.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the proportion of pupils to the number of classes that are available is a matter that we are looking into. This type of a system affords us an opportunity to critically look at the availability of infrastructure in relation to the number of pupils who ought to be entering high school. In cases where there are shortages of classrooms, we have embarked on an infrastructure development programme to meet the high school place requirement in our schools.

Madam Speaker, we are not looking at this in retrospect, but from a point of view of policy change. The policy change was effected last year and we cannot now look at it retrospectively.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.
Interruptions

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Madam Speaker, from the figures that the hon. Minister has given, it is evident that the cut off point system was …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! Can we lower our voices, please?

Mrs Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, the cut-off point system was a form of affirmative action because the cut off point for girls was lower than that for boys. Now that the criterion is a full certificate, and from the figures we can see that there are almost 20,000 more boys than girls, what affirmative action will the Ministry take to ensure that more girls are accepted to Grade 10 than there are this year?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member has probably missed the point here. The cut off point system is inequitable in as far as affirmation of girls proceeding to Grade 10 is concerned, because it means that you are cutting off from those who have passed, but in this case, all those who have passed are proceeding to Grade 10 as opposed to finding the most appropriate cut off point system. This one is highly equitable.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Madam Speaker, throughout his presentation, the hon. Minister of Education kept mentioning the term “full certificate”. For the sake of clarity, could the hon. Minister explain what a full certificate is.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, a full certificate at the Grade 9 level is obtaining a minimum of 40 percent in any six subjects. Someone can get less than 40 percent in English and can still proceed to Grade 10 as long as he or she has a minimum of 40 percent pass rate in any six subjects.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr C. Mulenga (Chinsali): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government has intentions of extending the same system to pupils graduating from Grade 7 to Grade 8.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, clearly, the answer is no, because we are moving towards a universal basic education system in which a child entering Grade 1 should be able to complete nine years of basic education. What is hindering this, at the moment, is the inadequate school places. However, the ultimate goal is that all children entering Grade 1 should complete Grade 9 as part of the universal basic education system.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Beene (Itezhi-Tezhi): Madam Speaker, it has become common for all schools, particularly boarding schools, to keep increasing boarding fees year in and year out. Is the hon. Minister considering coming up with a standard fee so that those who have lost jobs, especially on the Copperbelt, can manage to take their children to school?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, boarding fees are set by the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) at the school level. A number of factors are taken into account, including ability to pay, which are assessed and if there is any problem in that area, this is normally attended to administratively.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Madam Speaker, with regard to the feeding exercise to minimise absenteeism, where will the food come from? Further, is there a guarantee that there will be some transparency and food will not be misused?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the School Feeding Programme has been in effect for sometime now in selected areas that are food deficient. Last week in my Ministerial Statement, I indicated that there are more than 244,000 children on the School Feeding Programme. The School Feeding Programme is based on the procurement of food supplements from both internal and external resources and with effect from this year, we are focussing on a home grown school feeding programme, whereby the food that goes into feeding children in the food deficient areas that are selected, will be of course bought locally. That way, we hope that as an education sector, we shall contribute promoting productivity among small-scale farmers, using resources from our partners, the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as our own resources to procure foodstuffs that go into the School Feeding Programme. Therefore, we make sure that there is accountability for the food that is procured and there is no loss or wastage of the resources and food that is procured.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Ngoma (Sinda): Madam Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to be very clear on what this criterion is all about. Hillcrest, David Kaunda, Chizongwe and other technical schools are schools of excellence. Is he saying that as long as one has met the 40 per cent pass rate in the other six subjects but gets 30 per cent in mathematics, he or she can still go to these schools?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member is asking a curriculum question. The question is that, do we have a component of technical subjects in the basic education curriculum which ought to be the criteria for selecting pupils to Grade 10. That, of course, is the problem at the moment in the sense that the component of technical subjects at the basic education level is deficient as it were. My ministry is looking into that problem and very soon we shall have a national curriculum symposium which will be looking at the linkage among the various levels of the education system so that problems such as the one the hon. Member is raising will be addressed and we look at the basic education curriculum and see how best it can suit, for example, the various types of schools that we have.

_________


QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

PROVISION OF SOLAR PANELS TO MUKANGA RESENTLEMENT SCHEME HEALTH CENTRE

94. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Energy and Water development when the health centre at the Mukanga Resettlement Scheme in Chipili Parliamentary Constituency would be provided with solar panels for electrification purposes.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Chibombamilimo): Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Energy and Water development will provide solar panels for electrification purposes at the health centre at Mukanga Resettlement Scheme in Chipili Parliamentary Constituency when funds are made available.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Interruptions

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Speaker, the health post will be officially opened this week, and yet there is no electricity there. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the ministry has any intentions of electrifying the area in the 2009 financial year.

Interruptions

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Mr Chibombamilimo: Madam Speaker, I have already said that we will do that when funds are made available. However, I have asked the officers at the Ministry of Energy and Water Development to make sure that all the health centres that have been completed should be considered for electrification since the Government has given us, at least, a handsome amount of money in the budget.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

NUMBER OF LOCAL AND EXPATRIATE EMPLOYEES RETRENCHED IN MINE COMPANIES IN 2009

95. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a) how many employees were retrenched in 2008 in the following companies:

(i) Kansanshi Mine Plc;

(ii) Bwana Mkubwa Mine Plc;

(iii) Luanshya Copper Mines Plc;

(iv) Konkola Copper Mines Plc; and

(v) Mopani Copper Mines Plc; and

(b) how many of the employees at (a) above were expatriates.

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr M. B. Mwale): Madam Speaker, mining companies listed in the question, retrenched 489 employees broken down as follows:

(i) Kansanshi Mine Plc   –    70

(ii) Bwana Mkubwa Mine Plc   –  345

(iii) Luanshya Copper Mines Plc  –     8

(iv) Konkola Copper Mines Plc  –   30

(v) Mopani copper Mines Plc   –   36

Total                 489

Madam Speaker, the number of expatriate retrenched is as follows:

(i) Kansanshi Mine Plc   – Nil

(ii) Bwana Mkubwa Mine Plc  –  Nil

(iii) Luanshya copper Mines Plc  –  8

(iv) Konkola Copper Mines Plc  –  30

(v) Mopani Copper Mines   –  36

Total      –  74

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Speaker, before mining companies retrench workers, the ministry is informed about the number of workers to be retrenched. Would the hon. Minister inform this House whether he has received any correspondence concerning the retrenchment of workers in 2009?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for his follow-up question. However, I would like to inform him that the Government has various portfolios and that the question would be best handled by the Ministry of Labour and Social Services.

I thank you, Madam.

LEGITIMATE OWNERS OF HOUSES IN R AND Q SECTIONS OF NCHANGA WARD

96. Mr Simuusa (Nchanga) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development who the legitimate owners of the houses in the R and Q Sections of Nchanga Ward, adjacent to the Konkola Mine Plant, were.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, the legitimate owner of the houses is the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH). These are semidetached houses comprising 101 units in Section R and 7,007 in Section Q and are occupied by former ZCCM employees and non-miners. The units were classified as substandard and therefore, were not offered for sale as they were meant to be demolished. The tenants in these housing units do not pay any rentals.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Simuusa: Madam Speaker, there is a serious problem of accommodation in my constituency. Some miners are looking for accommodation and some teachers live in classrooms at the moment. Why is the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development not quickly handing over the units to the owners or offer them for sale to the Government so that the problem of shortage of accommodation in Nchanga can be alleviated?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I have difficulty answering the hon. Member’s question because the occupants of the houses are actually his constituents. They could be former miners, but are still his constituents. The Government will be looking into some of the points he has raised.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the houses were declared substandard. This was in 1997 which is about twelve years ago, but people are still occupying them. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government has intentions of demolishing the houses or not.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Chipili for his follow-up question. However, in our earlier response, we indicated that the houses were not offered for sale as they were meant to be demolished. However, ZCCM-IH is reviewing the matter considering the fact that the issue of accommodation is quite acute in Nchanga and might continue to conduct some surveys of the properties to see whether they can be offered for sale to the sitting tenants.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Dr Katema (Chingola): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if the ministry is not contemplating selling the houses quickly so that the sitting tenants can upgrade them by renovating them rather than dillydallying.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his suggestion.. I will be engaging ZCCM-IH to find the forward with regard to the properties in question.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the houses do not belong to either the sitting tenants or ZCCM-IH since they have not been sold. Why then is the council asking the sitting tenants to pay land rates?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I did not state that the houses do not belong to ZCCM-IH. They belong to ZCCM-IH as it is the one looking after these properties. However, I thank the hon. Member for bringing to our attention the fact that the sitting tenants are requested to pay land rates. In fact, the houses are not supposed to be occupied. However, we will look into this matter and find a way forward with ZCMM-IH.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has told the House that the houses are in a substandard condition. Is the Government in order to continue allowing people to live in substandard houses which can collapse anytime and are, therefore, a danger to the people occupying them?

Mr. M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the House of the problems that ZCCM-IH had in Nkana when the people of Nkandabwe were told to vacate their houses which were in a caving area. To date, the people are still occupying the houses because some of these matters tend to be turned into political issues by ourselves in this House.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


 
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