Over half of the Zambian population is filled with young people, the majority of these people yearn to go to University after they complete their secondary school education and not just any University but the highest learning institution of Zambia, The University of Zambia (UNZA).

UNZA being the biggest and highest learning institution in Zambia, enrolls a lot of students who are eligible and wish to pursue different programs at the institution regardless of sex, age, race, beliefs among other things.

From the time the institution was established in 1966 with a total number of 312 students, it now has over 30,000 students including parallel and distance programmes.

In recent years the University has encouraged women to enroll in the University and it has put up some policies to encourage them enroll more especially in schools of natural science, mining and engineering as the schools lack female representations.

Family of ladies look on at female graduate with pride. Image by Kalichu Pictures

For the past three years, UNZA has consistently been increasing the number of enrolled students especially the number of female student every academic year. In 2015/2016 intake it enrolled a total number of 4,605 students whereas 1,962 female students and 2,643 male students.

In the 2016/2017 intake the institution enrolled 2,053 female students and 3,043 male students which led to a total of 5,096 students. And in the 2017/2018 intake, 5,351 students were enrolled and 2,310 were females and 3,041 males. It continues to minimize the margin between males and females.


  • Statistics showing the enrollment of students for the 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018:

UNZA public relations officer Mr. Damaseke Chibale said the institution has a deliberate policy of admitting 30 percent of female applicants while 70 percent is completed for both females and males as such females should strive to study in schools such as mining, veterinary medicines and available sciences.

IMG_9258 1
3rd year female engineering Student Natasha poses in University Engineering Union. Image by Kalichi Pictures 

Meanwhile Mabanga Mwanza a third year Business Administration student complained about the institution’s failure to consider where the students they enroll will be accommodated since they increase the number of students admitted every year, and also how inadequate the lecture theatres are.

“UNZA management should be applauded for putting up such policies to encourage and create more access for us female students, however, the institution should consider accommodation for both male and female especially those from far places,” She said.

On the other hand the UNZA vice chancellor, Prof Luke Mumba said we have witnessed applicants with 5 to 6 points- both female and male applicants. This situation has compelled the University senate to set higher admission points in order to admit a limited number of students that its infrastructure for teaching and learning can accommodate.

This is evident to that the University is trying hard to enroll more female students to reach the same ratio as male students in enrolled.


Prof. Luke Mumba- University of Zambia Vice Chancellor

Mabanga Mwanza – third year Buisness Administration Student

Damasake Chibale – Public Relations UNZA


Writer – Chanda Chanda

Editor – Chishimba Bwalya

Sources – Peter Mwanza and James Sakala and Chinyemba Kamweho

Layout – Chipema Chinyama

Photography – Chipema Chinyama








It is sometimes merely an act of faith that a good number of students practice when they pack their bags from home to campus to acquire or indeed add on their academics with just a few resources for their immediate needs such as groceries, food stuffs among others while others effortlessly wait on the government to resolve their tuition fee without really confirming if it has done so provided their accounts do not appear to bother them. They also confidently wait for other allowances to follow.

This, however, is not the case with other students who were not privileged

Student eagerly collecting money from a digital service provider in order to pay fees before examinations begin. Image by Kalichi Pictures

to be funded by the government, have to deal eye to eye with the institution and risk not being registered and consequently not sitting for their examinations.

Ideally, at the country’s highest learning institution-The University of Zambia (UNZA), tuition fees were designed to be reducing as a student went up the ladder but, ironically,the opposite is the new trend.

In as much as it can be noted that students are to pay the same amount of tuition fees they paid in their first year of study till the last, they still succumb to the other increments from the ‘other fees’ which keep increasing every academic year. This has not been the case before as students could be exempted from certain charges from second year to beyond. The other annually compulsive fees have been increased by over 100% such as the internet which was at K55.00 in the 2016/2017 academic year, has increased to K 194.00 in the 2017/2018 academic year. Sports and Recreation have increased from K65.00 to K150.00; examination fees from K100.00 per to K50.00 per course in the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic years respectively.

The other fee which has been increased by over 100 % is the accommodation fee which was K1,200.00 and now at K3,900.00 translating into a K100 per month to a K325 per month, indicating a 225% raise.

Notably, the tuition fees have been increasing by 10% annually with the first years of the 2017/2018 academic year paying K23, 462.00, the Second years; K21,329, whilst those in third year pay K19,390 and the fourth years K17,627.00 for all art based programmes.

Media and Communications student using alternative internet due to increase in University internet fee. Image by Kalichi Pictures

Meanwhile, their science based counterparts pay K28, 980.00, K26, 345.00, K23,950.00, K21,774.00 and K19,795.00 per year from the first to fifth year students in the 2017/2018 academic year respectively.

Additionally, those from the the School of Medicine are charged K28,980.00 for the second years, K26,345.00 third years and K23,950.00 for the fourth years per year.

Other fees are; K21,774.00, K19, 795.00 and K17,995 per year for fifth, sixth and seventh year students, in that order.

Nonetheless, students are allowed to pay 37.5 percent of the first installment, 25 of the second and the third and 12.5 percent of the last, of the tuition fees.

A fourth year student,from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Michael Musakalu, who is on self-sponsorship, expresses worry over the UNZA fees ranging from tuition fees, which he feels are the most painful to other user fees which he terms ‘exorbitant’. He notes that students come from different families with different backgrounds.

“What you might consider cheap or fair, might be considered nearly impossible for me to acquire,you get?” he says,”others might be a phone call away to millions whilst others have to feel the sweat completely to gather a few coins.”

A parent sending money to University student using the cheapest mode of cash transfer, Swift Cash, so that student can pay fees. Image by Kalichi Pictures

Musakalu also urges the institution to be more considerate when with regards to writing exams, to allow students to sit for them [the exams] and not have their results withheld.

He adds that it becomes quite disturbing to hear management announce that students who are still owing the institution shall not sit for their examinations, after an entire year of preparation.

However, UNZA Vice Chancellor Prof. Luke Mumba said he feels disheartened to see students being chased away from writing exams due to non payment of tuition fees.

Students exiting and entering University library in preparation for oncoming exams. Image by Kalichi Pictures

“I know it is ironic that its me saying this when I am the one who always says,’if you have not paid, you won’t write exams’,” he said.

Prof. Mumba added that he only does that because he has an institution to run and for him to do so, money is needed.

He also expressed sadness that thousands of students are refrained from sitting for examinations every year due to non-payment of tuition fees.

Prof. Mumba was speaking during the University Christian Community(UCC) interdenominational service, where he was invited as guest of honour.

Despite all these annual increments, one question still remains unanswered, “Why do fees keep increasing every year…yet nothing seems to be changing?”

This question can only be answered by assumptions and speculations, but even these may never be enough to ascertain the true picture and provide the answer.


Article idealised and written by: Midia Zulu

Edited by: Chishimba Bwalya and James Sakala

Data Collection: Chanda Chanda and Chinyemba Kamweho

Outline and Photography: Chipema Chinyama

Proof Reading: Peter Mwanza


Professor Luke Mumba – Vice Chancellor University of Zambia

Michael Musakalu – 4th year humanities student

*All statistics were collected from the University Annual Reports*