President Hichilema opens African Innovation Summit

President Hakainde Hichilema says review of the country’s school curriculum is critical to align the education system to the economic dynamics of the country.

President Hichilema said the current education system is designed to only produce graduates who go to look for jobs, saying the system needs to change to incorporate entrepreneurship from an early age so that more business people can be created to contribute to the economic development of the country.

“We have observed that our school systems are also geared towards producing graduates that are looking for a job. When two jobs are advertised in the papers thousands apply. I think it’s high time that our school curriculum began to train at an early stage again another dynamic subject of entrepreneurship” he said.

The President further highlighted the high financial literacy levels in the country and the need for financial literacy to be included in the school curriculum from an early stage for the country to build young people that will be able to manage businesses and contribute towards economic development and job creation.

“Issues around competencies. Just financial literacy levels is a problem in this Country. You find that there are people with PHDs, Master’s degrees but with very low financial literacy. Now we expect these to run businesses and effectively deliver to job creation.” he added.

ZANIS reports that the Head of State added that young people need to be encouraged and supported in their various skills and talents from an early age by providing them with investments and a platform to grow their talents, including those that do not show interest in mathematics and English as required.

Speaking when he officially opened the 10th edition of the African Innovation Summit in Lusaka today, the Head of State highlighted the critical link between education and digital transformation and has urged all country representatives present to advocate for increased investment in the education and the technological sectors.

“We as governments of this continent must up the quantity and quality of investments that we put in the education sector if we are to yield results that will benefit the economy” he said

He said technological advancements aid the education system and further announced that government plans to improve internet connectivity to reach every student including those in the rural areas.

And Former President of the People’s Republic of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete said Africa is currently faced with an education crisis that has seen over 100 million children drop out of school and which worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, human conflicts among other factors 

President Kikwete, who is also Board Chair for Global Partnership for Education has since called for substantial investment in education, inclusion of the marginalized children in the education system and political will for the African governments in order for this crisis to be reversed.

“Achieving a quality education for African’s children require us reimagine and transform the education systems. We support governments to identify reforms that have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable children, girls, the disabled and the rural children” he added

And Education Minister Douglas Siakalima says government wants to make Zambia an innovation hub in the region and the continent.

Mr Siakalima says Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are vital tools which can be used to develop the country through education.

Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minister Felix Mutati says Africa must use Information and Communication Technologies -ICTs to come up with home grown solutions to solve challenges.

Mr Mutati says ICTs have the potential to transform the continent to a level where lives will be changed and that such can only be achieved with the involvement of the private sector.

“The theme resonates with our aspirations as African governments in our quest to advance innovation and digital transformation” he said.

Over 300 Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, civil society leaders and representatives of private companies offering education facilities from across Africa are attending the three day event which is being held at the Bonanza Resort in Chongwe.