Better Schools Public Hearings Programme In Rural Areas On The Cards.

Florence Zirima

Parliament Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education will hold public hearings aimed at promoting better schools and equality in education.

The public hearings will start on the 21st and 25th of February 2022 in rural areas such as Nyika, Mberengwa, Maphisa, Nkayi and Gokwe.

This publication interviewed the Amalgamated Rural and Teachers Union Zimbabwe Secretary General Robson Chere on what strategy they will use during the consultations.

Chere said the union will mobilise its members to attend these meetings to help in coming us with solutions to better schooling in rural areas.

“As a union, we are going to mobilise our members to attend these public hearings to facilitate dialogue that leads to solutions on challenges affecting the education sector.

We are also going to write a position paper that we will submit to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee with policy recommendations that we think are of the paramount importance in the education sector especially in line with better schools programme as well as the inclusive access to education”, he said.

Chere also said ARTUZ will recommend that government avails education recovery grants to all schools.

“As part of the position paper that we are going to submit, we will also recommend that government avails education recovery grants to all schools that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We will ask government to enhance the capacity of schools to adhere to health operation procedures meaning that there should be enough Personal Protective Protections (PPEs) in schools and infrastructure development that will aid in minimizing the spread of Covid-19″, he added.

In making sure that the education sector is funded to achieve the sustainable development goal 4, Chere said the union will lobby for government to adopt the Dakar Declaration.

“We will lobby for government to adopt the Dakar Declaration which it signed whereby 23% of its budget allocation should be channeled towards the education sector.

Government should introduce the education equalisation fund.

The funds should also be availed to rural schools to bridge the gap between urban and rural schools which are still legging behind in terms of development”, ARTUZ Secretary General said.

This publication also got an opportunity to speak with the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Acting National Secretary General Goodwill Taderera who said the association is always involved in programmes that have to do with improving the education sector.

“As the Zimbabwe Teachers Association we are always involved in anything that has to do with education and I will liase with my secretariat and see how best we can deploy our members in those different areas.

When looking at Better Schools programme the idea at the end of the day is to have better schools and inclusive education across all board inorder to attain the sustainable development goal 4″, he said.

Taderera also said the engagements will help in terms of transparency in the education sector where Better Schools Programme Zimbabwe (BSPZ) funds are not utilised purposefully.

“There are many perspections where some officials in different districts misuse the BSPZ funds and the money is not benefiting different students in their various abilities and disabilities.

This is the time for the ministry to account for how the money is being used so that we improve our education sector. When you go district by district, you will notice that some have built their district centres using these BSPZ funds but in some districts nothing has really happened, they are still renting offices.

This is the moment they should tell us what they are doing with the funds and how is it benefiting on the Sustainable Development goal 4″, he said.

The public hearings will be taking place in Nyika at Nyika BSPZ Hall, Mberengwa at Mberengwa BSPZ Hall, Maphisa at Omadu Motel, Nkayi at Agape Mission Hall and Gokwe at Cheziya Hall.

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