The Zambian government has rescinded its decision to scrap the payment of meal allowances for government-sponsored students at its two main universities, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Last month, Minister of Higher Education Michael Kaingu said the government has decided to stop paying meal allowances to government-sponsored students at the University of Zambia in Lusaka, and the Copperbelt University in Kitwe city, Copperbelt Province, on grounds that the process has been abused in the past.
The government also scrapped book and project allowances, a move that received a backlash from stakeholders.
Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said Tuesday that the government will continue paying meal allowances for the students, but warned that the allowances will be stopped if riotous behavior by the students continues.
"I wish to inform the nation that the government will continue to provide meal allowances to students when the two universities re-open," he said in a statement.
The two universities were closed on Feb. 3 due to persistent unrest over delayed payment of meal allowances, but are set for re-opening on April 24.
The government, he said, will take disciplinary action against students who were ring leaders during the fracas that engulfed the two universities.