On Monday 12th March, Zambia will be celebrating Youth Day; an internationally recognised celebration dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace!

Some of the youth involved in our programme have been writing some of their thoughts in honour of this day. We welcome debate around the topics raised but advocate being respectful of others views. The University of Zambia has recently reopened. Here are our ambassador’s Grace’s thoughts.

Effects of Closing the University of Zambia
Closing of the university can have a positive impact as well as a negative impact. The central focus is on the wellbeing of the students and the institution of learning. Depending on the reasons of closing the institution, it brings both benefits to students and the institution as well as problems to them.

Closure of the institution, benefits the management of the school to plan and do the maintenance works before opening. It gives time to sort out the previously met problems and also to implement solutions that will enforce the well-running of the institution.

To the students, though, it gives them time to relax from the pressures of their school. It also gives them ample time to study and read more widely around their school work and catch up on what they didn’t understand during their time in school.

However, closing can also be detrimental to the students when they go back to their various communities. This can impact the students’ academic achievements. Moving students around can negatively impact their achievement. This makes students forget what they’ve been learning. It also drives their attention to the movies and video games henceforth, slipping away from studying habits. Becoming lazy from so much time not working is very damaging especially for the students who need extra support that they cannot find outside school.

This situation affects those students without the required resources such as books and internet for research. With the closure, students go back to their various communities leaving the required resources from their school thereby ending up languishing. With nothing to do, they end up affecting the property values, business and community viability.

This can be also jading. Long closure of UNZA can be tiresome for the students. With an indefinite waiting time, it can instil a waning of interest in academic studies while developing an interest in other things – often not the most honourable activities – and thereby shifting attention from what they are pursuing at university.

A side effect of closures is that students finish their degrees later than they had hoped. This is not the first time that UNZA has been closed, forcing students away from their studies. Some students have taken six years to complete what should be a four year degree. With financial pressures from their families mounting, some students will just drop out of university.
Seeing the potential negative effects school closure has on the students, the school management should see to it that there is swift opening of UNZA so as to curb the dangers students face of staying away.

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