Science 'census' to assess Zambia's training needs
[LUSAKA] Zambia will spend six billion kwacha (US$1.25 million) collecting information from across the country to improve the science and technology training available to young people.
Announcing the plans on 17 January, deputy minister for science, technology and vocational training Juliana Chisupa said the data would be used to develop technical guidelines for her ministry and to help tertiary education institutions design science and technology curricula.
The project, which is expected to last for three months starting in April, will collect statistics on enrolment in science courses to help the government more effectively allocate funds to institutions that need extra scientific equipment.
The data should also identify regions in which enrolment in science courses could be increased.
Each institution will create a database of information on its training needs, such as the number of students currently undertaking scientific and technical training courses, existing scientific equipment and the number of lecturers handling science and technical courses.
The database for each institution will be linked to the science ministry's database for easy monitoring of activities. The ministry will train the heads of the institutions in data management.
Chisupa said the statistics would allow her ministry to measure the performance of Zambia's technical education and the contribution of science and technology to social and economic development of the country in an informed way.
Robert Serpell, vice-chancellor of the University of Zambia, told SciDev.Net that the information will help the government identify the technical and scientific training needs of each institution and of the community.
According to Chisupa, the programme will identify priorities in training and use them as the basis for developing strategies for improving the relevance, availability and quality of current technical education.