SIX contractors have been awarded tenders to construct hostels at the University ofZambia (UNZA) main campus that will create 4,160 bed spaces.
The contractors that have already moved on site include, Wajang Infrastructure Limited, Wahkong enterprise Limited, Mangoe tree Construction Company, Fairface Enterprise, African Brothers Cooperation and Millers Contraction Limited.
UNZA Vice-Chancellor Stephen Simukanga said this in Lusaka yesterday when Deputy Minister of Education Sydney Mushanga visited the institution to check on the progress of the project.
“Currently the university has 3,700 bed spaces against a student population of 20,000 full time and 7,000 distant learning students,” Professor Simukanga said.
Once completed, the new hostels are expected to reduce the accommodation burden by 7,860 with more than half the population still uncatered for.
Prof Simukanga said UNZA was also negotiating with private partners for the construction of 5,000 bed spaces.
He said another 640 bed spaces that were initially being developed under the Ministry of Youth and Sport to accommodate participants during the all-Africa games were now transferred to the Ministry of Education and were being developed.
Other than the accommodation challenges, Prof Simukanga said the institution was faced with shortage of teaching and learning centres.
The Vice-Chancellor said UNZA had set aside K4 million of the required K20 million towards the construction of a multipurpose teaching and learning centre to house two lecture theatres, laboratories, staff offices and a reading centre for 1,000 students.
Mr Mushanga said Government had already released 20 per cent of the total budget required for the construction of hostels at UNZA, Copperbelt University (CBU), Mulungushi University and Evelyn Hone College.
Mr Mushanga, who extended his tour to the Ridgeway Campus, said he was happy with the UNZA management initiatives to supplement Government efforts by coming up with workable plans to improve the learning environment.
“Let me also mention that it is not only the issue of the student accommodation and lecture theatres that has been impacting negatively on the institution, because we also need to look further into the issues of lecturer’s accommodation,” he said.
He said he was also concerned with the issue of water and sanitation at the institution and that he would approach the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to help resolve the issue.
Mr Mushanga took to task the resident engineer at the Ridgeway Campus for failing to explain why there were leaking taps and pipes at the hostels for more than six months.