The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has partnered with the University Of Zambia (UNZA) through the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies to provide training in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to the members of staff to enhance quality service delivery for the ministry and the government at large.
Speaking during the official handover of signed documents Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources Permanent Secretary Daphne Chabu said that land administration in Zambia has been a subject of widespread interest due to competing needs from nearly all the sectors of the economy, therefore, to administer the land in a fair, transparent, accurate and efficient manner there is a need to enhance human resource skills and efficient utilization of available technologies especially in the field of Geoinformatics.
Ms Chabu said in March 2022, the government of the Republic of Zambia through the Management Development Division undertook an exercise to review the structure of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in line with the government policy of decentralisation. “This resulted in the abolishing of redundant positions and the creation of new positions such as geographical information system officer and assistant geographical information system officer. At present, there is no college or university offering diploma programmes in GIS in the country. Professionals in this field have been trained abroad this has proved to be a challenge in terms of financial resources to sustain such training programmes,” she said.
Ms Chabu said that given the financial challenge, the ministry decided to explore the possibility of partnering with the University of Zambia to provide training at a diploma level on a distance basis.
“I wish to commend UNZA through the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies for rising up to the challenge and allowing us to sign this milestone which will see us exchange the memorandum of understanding for the provision of a diploma programme in Geographic Information Systems in Zambia. My ministry stands ready to support the actualisation of this MOU,” She said.
The Permanent Secretary pledged the ministry’s commitment to the partnership and she was hopeful that the outcome would contribute to the betterment of the lives of the Zambian people.
And UNZA Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Boniface Namangala thanked the ministry for picking on the University of Zambia to provide the training in GIS to members of staff.
Prof Namangala said the university–industry linkage is a symbiosis relationship that is very important in fostering development in the country. “This linkage is also important because it plays a crucial role in technological catch-up. On the one hand, for instance, the ministry can gain access to appropriate and cheaper technologies and become more competitive in the world marketplace. On the other hand, the university can improve its financial position and gain first-hand technological experience and needs,” he said.
Prof Namangala hoped through these linkages, the university could become more entrepreneurial and play an active role in the economic development process of the country.
He said UNZA has been supplying human resources from the time it was opened in 1966. Prof Namanagala further said acknowledging that the needs of the industry are all changing, the university has been working to position itself to continue to be of service to the industry.
“I wish to take this opportunity to direct the Department of Geography to develop a degree program in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This will make it easy for the people who will acquire the diploma in GIS to come back and pursue a Bachelor of Science in Geographical Information Systems. The university is committed to ensuring that the diploma programme starts as early as possible to ensure that we bridge your human resource gap,” he said.