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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 1 NOVEMBER 2022 VOL 48 NO 88
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 1st November, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have
Received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following: a) Electricity Amendment Bill [H. B. 7. 2022]; b) Medical Services Amendment Bill [H. B. 1, 2022]; c) Statutory Instruments Nos. 138 to 149 of 2022 published in the
Gazette during the month of August, 2022 except for Statutory Instrument 144 of 2022 which is still under consideration; and d) All Statutory Instruments published in the Gazette during the
month of September, 2022.
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM MR. C. KAHARO, FIRINNE TRUST (VERITAS), WARD 10 ZENGEZA WEST CONSTITUENCY, AND UNIT N, CHITUNGWIZA
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that Parliament received the following petitions:
I) Mr. C. Kaharo, requested Parliament to enact a law that will give the Electoral Powers to recall non-performers from Parliament and councils in order to strengthen public institutions and promote our democracy. The petitioners suggested the establishment of a Constituencies Inspectorate to monitor the performance of both Members of Parliament and councillors based on the party manifestos of elected candidates.
The petition was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I knew; I would expect that reaction. Yes, hokoyo, the inspectorate is coming;
II) Firinne Trust (Veritas) beseeched Parliament to enact a law to outlaw the death penalty. The petitioners implored the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to present before Parliament, a Bill to remove the death penalty from Zimbabwe’s Statute Book.
The petition was referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
III) Petitions from Ward 10 in Zengeza West Constituency requested that Stephen Mugariri, a tenant at Nyatsime Beer Hall premises, be given three months notice to vacate the said premises. The petitioners also requested that the Chitungwiza Council furnish them with details of action taken within 14 days after receipt of the petition.
The petitioners did not meet the requirements stipulated in the Standing Orders and the petition was deemed inadmissible. The petitioners have since been informed accordingly.
IV) Sitting tenants from Unit N, in Chitungwiza requested Parliament to ensure that the ministers of Local Government and Public Works and National Housing and Social Amenities exercise their oversight role on the Chitungwiza Municipality by implementing the Government directive of issuing title deeds to genuine sitting tenants occupying house numbers 12100 to 12151 in Unit N. Seke.
The petitioners did not meet the requirements stipulated in the Standing Orders and the petition was deemed inadmissible. The petitioners have since been informed accordingly.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please straight to the point, may I warn you. Do not come up with issues that pertain to Question Time tomorrow. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Good afternoon.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you. Mr. Speaker Sir, my point of national interest is premised on the 821km, Plumtree-Mutare Highway in that it would be prudent to revisit the agreement as it impedes or it actually milks dry the Government coffers in the following manner Mr. Speaker Sir …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, may I be allowed to cut you short? That is a question for tomorrow.
HON. NDUNA: I will say it is not Mr. Speaker Sir…
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have ruled. Ask that good question tomorrow.
HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on a point of national interest. I am sure Mr. Speaker Sir in the last week you have heard about three girls: two 9 year olds and one 8 year old who are pregnant, almost full term, one is about to deliver.
This is a tragedy. As a nation, we have been talking about this and it is about time we act, even if we have to move and act with the Kagame Effect. The Kagame Effect – Kagame pronounced a law that said no Rwandese child who is below a certain age say (15), will be allowed to deliver a baby because she is a baby also. He made sure that the final decision on whether that pregnancy is terminated will lie with the child.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, ask that issue tomorrow to the Hon. Minister of Health.
HON. DR. LABODE: No Mr. Speaker, we need to do something now.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Ask the question tomorrow, that is a very profound observation – [HON. LABODE: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Dr. Labode, tomorrow is your feast day…
HON. DR. LABODE: I was saying the Minister does not come to the House, this thing just keeps on. It is an urgent issue, the President should address it. In Rwanda, it was the President who made the decision - that is why it is called Kagame Effected International Label.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We will call for a decision tomorrow.
HON. MARKHAM: My point of national interest is the expression of the National Budget and I have had a lot of questions from the public on the issue of - yes we talk about the expenditure side of the budget, where we have an issue, it has happened in the last three or four budgets and the revenue is generally referred to that. We need a more detailed revenue flow for one reason, that is, we are constantly being told for example by the Ministry that there is delay in release of funds to them.
We have been constantly told of the amount we can earn from mining concessions and joint ventures, etcetera. Can we have a detailed statement from the Ministry of Finance to explain to us how much money we are actually getting from all these national resources that are being taken? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Budget debate is coming in full swing and interrogate the proposed budget that will be tabled on the 24th November and have your assegais ready to attach.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, that is what I was doing, getting the assegai ready. I was hoping the Minister would give a budget statement on revenue so we actually know what we are talking about because quite frankly on revenue flows and money coming in, we know nothing. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I still repeat, hold fire until the budget is presented and you will have a feast day.
*HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My issue pertains to the words that were said by Hon. Vice President Chiwenga responding to the august House regarding the Public Service Medical Institution (PSMI). The issue was that all medical hospitals and clinics were closed and the Minster said that they were not, but the issue is that they closed. Pensioners and members of PSMI are contributing including the Hon. Members of Parliament are also contributing but the clinics and hospitals are closed. So I request that the Hon. Minister should investigate the issue so that he ascertains what the PSMI is getting from the contributors and what money is used.
To me, this is like fraud. Public Service and pensioners are exposed, some are dying because they do not have access to medical facilities.
THE HON. SPEAKER: May you pose that question tomorrow during Question and Answer Session and if you are not satisfied, we will request for a full ministerial statement from the Hon. Minster.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What I would like to reiterate is that Members of Parliament from Victoria Falls, Binga, Lupane, and Nkayi incur a lot of expenses because they do not have time to rest in Bulawayo. Hotels no longer accept Members of Parliament to rest there.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That has nothing to do with this House, come to my office.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I will come to your office, Hon. Speaker Sir, thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, if you want to talk to your colleague, you sit down and whisper.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise as a follow up to the issue which I raised in this august House on the 19th of October, it was on a Wednesday....
THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that a matter of national interest.
HON. GONESE: It is about contempt of Parliament in terms of Standing Order No. 27 and 67 by Hon. Ministers, so I just want to remind the…
THE HON. SPEAKER: What happened was, when we raised the issue, the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health said if we could give him chance as he had spoken before that he will make sure that the Hon. Ministers would be here and we said fine we proceed that way, otherwise we are ready with the list. So we are waiting to see what will happen tomorrow.
HON. GONESE: Mr. Speaker Sir, you had indicated that the Administration of Parliament was going to avail the names.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am ready with the names, you did not hear me properly; I was ready with the names and prior, the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care had said he takes responsibility to make sure that the Hon. Members should attend and if I could hold on to that list.
HON. GONESE: I hear you Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 14 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 15 has been disposed of.
HON. MAHLANGU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
THIRD REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ON THE PROVISION OF SANITARY WEAR IN RURAL SCHOOLS
HON. T. MOYO: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Third Report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education on the provision of sanitary wear in rural schools, progress made on the construction and refurbishment of schools, access to ICT equipment and the extent to which rural schools were able to conduct online lessons during COVID-19 lockdowns, and availability of teachers to conduct physical lessons.
HON. MAHLANGU: I second.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I am going to present a report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education on provision of sanitary wear in rural areas, rural schools and progress made on the construction and refurbishment of schools, access to ICT equipment and availability of teachers to conduct physical lessons when schools open during second term.
Standing Order No. 20 (d) mandates Select Committees to monitor, investigate, inquire into and make recommendations relating to any aspect of the legislative programme, budget, policy or any other matter it may consider relevant to the government department falling within the category of affairs assigned to it, and may for that purpose consult and liaise with such department. In light of that provision, the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education invited the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for oral evidence session to discuss progress on implementation of its 2022 budget.
- During the inquiry, the Committee received a petition from Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe and Deaf Zimbabwe Trust on access to sanitary wear by learners and provision of comprehensive education, therefore this report is also responding to the two petitions.
- To evaluate the provision of sanitary wear in rural schools,
- To assess progress on the construction and refurbishment of schools,
- To assess the availability of ICT equipment and the extent to which rural schools were able to conduct online lessons during COVID-19 lockdowns, and
- To verify if teachers were available and conducting lessons when schools opened during second term.
The Committee invited and received oral evidence from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on Thursday, 10th March 2022. On 17th March, during deliberations of the oral evidence received, the Committee resolved to embark on a verification visit to selected government primary and secondary schools to ascertain the information and facts that were submitted by the Ministry.
The Committee was divided into two groups and conducted verification visits to the following selected schools across the country; Team A visited Mutimuri Primary School (Gokwe), Ngomeyebani Secondary School (Zvishavane), Neshaya Primary School (Hwange) and Katasa Primary School (Nkayi). Team B visited Kasika Primary School (Rushinga), Chimoyo Primary and Secondary Schools (Mutoko), Chakohwa Primary School (Chimanimani), Mutonhori Secondary School (Zaka) and Mazungunye Secondary School (Bikita). The meetings were attended by the school heads of the host school and in some cases other school heads from the district including the District Schools’ Inspectors (DSIs).
Provision of Sanitary Wear in Rural Schools
The Ministry received an allocation of about ZWL$1.23 billion for the procurement and distribution of sanitary wear to meet the welfare needs of the girl child during the year 2022 year. The Ministry managed to contract five companies to supply and deliver sanitary wear to the country’s ten provinces. The Ministry highlighted that as of 10th March, most provinces had received the sanitary wear except for Masvingo and Midlands which had received partial deliveries.
However, during the verification visit, the Committee established that some schools had already received both reusable and disposable pads while other schools had not received any of the sanitary wear except from the schools’ development partners. Out of all the districts visited, only Zaka had received and distributed sanitary wear to all the schools in the district. The Committee was informed that all schools had received on average about 560 reusable pads and between 48 and 72 disposable pads.
The School Head at Mutimuri Primary School confirmed having only received a single box of disposable sanitary wear with 10 packs (120 units of pads) since 2019 while they had not received anything for the 2022 year. In Rushinga District, Kasika Primary School had only received a few disposable pads and fabrics of sanitary wear material which were yet to be sewn. At Ngomeyebani Primary School, about 265 girls were in need of sanitary wear in 2022. The school received their first consignment of sanitary wear in 2020 and another in April 2021 consignment. In March 2022, the school had received about 3912 units of disposable pads and 960 units (96 packs of 10) of disposable pads, which was inadequate.
In Mutoko District, only two schools had received reusable pads from the government while most schools had not received anything except from the school development partners.
Some schools like Katasa, Chakohwa and Mazungunye had never benefitted from the government sanitary wear project to schools.
Construction and Refurbishment of Schools
The Ministry highlighted that the Government had availed ZWL$4,690 million for the construction of 35 model schools (19 primaries and 16 secondary) in the 10 provinces of the country. The Committee was informed that sites for the 35 schools had been proposed and the modalities for site assessments were being finalised. The Committee was informed that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works was currently working on the designs by improving the drawings of the 17 OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) constructed schools. Construction of the 35 formal schools was expected to be completed within the next five years.
School Infrastructure - the Committee established that there has been no progress yet on the construction of the proposed 35 schools. Some DSIs expressed ignorance as they had no such information of the proposed sites of the new schools set to be constructed in their provinces.
The Committee’s visit to Mutimuri Primary School in Gokwe North revealed that it was a satellite primary school with no proper infrastructure. The school has an enrollment of 318 pupils and seven teachers. The school’s state of infrastructure was in an appalling state as it comprises of temporary sub-standard classrooms made of pole and dagga while other classrooms were made of grass thatched open sheds. The Committee also established that some of the learners were learning under a tree, which exposes the learners to dust during windy days and cold weather during rainy and winter seasons. There was no single classroom at the school made of bricks and roofing sheets as is the normal standard of schools in Zimbabwe. The only building which was under construction was the ECD centre which was being funded by the SDA.
The Committee also established that there was no proper road infrastructure to connect the school with its mother school, Umbe Primary School and other critical service centres such as clinics, hospitals, other schools, shops and the growth point/town. The same situation obtained to Mutimuri Secondary School and its mother school, Denda Secondary School. Both schools are located in a low lying area which is prone to frequent flooding during the rainy reason. The schools are usually affected by floods during the first three months of the year, hence schooling ends prematurely, during early December and resumes in February/March.
Fortunately, the Committee established that there were plans to relocate the schools to higher ground at the Cassa Banana area. The CEO for Gokwe Rural District Council (RDC) Mr Munyawo, briefed the Committee that the RDC would be done pegging the Cassa Banana area for the construction of the school by 31st July 2022. The council had already begun engagements with the department of Spatial Planning in Gweru for the exercise to be executed.
Chimoyo Secondary School confirmed having received some Public Sector Investment Programme funds for construction of school infrastructure. Most of the schools in the district have benefitted a lot from the SDC as most parents in the community engage in gainful economic activities such as horticulture production. The DSI in Mutoko confirmed that Mashonaland East Province will have one of the 35 proposed schools, which is yet to be constructed in Rushinga District.
Out of all the schools visited by the Committee, Mutonhori High School in Zaka had some of the best school facilities which are well maintained. The school has a good water supply system which is backed by solar powered boreholes, orchard, school tuck shop and piggery production which contribute to the school’s revenue streams. The school also has specialist rooms for textile, food technology, agriculture, science and ICT laboratories, which makes it a modern school in Zaka District. The Committee was informed that the school has since been given the authority by the Government to offer boarding facilities which will soon be constructed.
Generally, the rest of the schools shared the same sentiments that the Government must play a pivotal role in the maintenance and upgrading of schools to meet the standards required, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most school heads called upon the Government to disburse the Basic Education Assistant Model (BEAM) funds and school grants which are central to school development. Most schools bemoaned poor teachers’ accommodation, limited ablution facilities, limited school blocks, lack of ECD centres, lack of proper water and sanitation facilities and the dilapidated school blocks that require urgent attention as some are a hazard to the children.
Teachers’ accommodation at Mutimuri Primary School comprise of a sub-standard two roomed flat roof house shared by two teachers and an unfinished five roomed house shared between the headmaster and other teachers. The latter had no plastered walls. There were no staff toilets at the school. Both teachers and learners used the same blair toilets which were in a sorrow state. The Committee also found that there were no clean sources of water at the school as it relies on water from Ume River where teachers and pupils have dug wells on the river bed.
At Kasika Primary School, there is only one-four roomed teachers’ house which is shared among the five teachers at the school while there is an unfinished four roomed house meant for the teachers. The Committee also observed that there were no toilets nearby and the teachers would rely on the school toilets which were situated faraway. At Neshaya Secondary School, teachers accommodation is a huge challenge as the school has a big enrolment with 14 teachers sharing houses. The worst incident recorded by the Committee was a case whereby a teacher was sharing a single room with his wife and three children at Neshaya Secondary School.
Most secondary schools visited are in dire need of science laboratories and specialised classrooms for other practical subjects like ICT and home economics. At Neshaya Secondary School, the two Science laboratories were incomplete, without ceilings, requisite apparatus for the science subjects and no water reticulation. At Mazungunye Secondary, the school head bemoaned the lack of government support to upgrade the school to become a modern school since it is the only government school in the district. However, the school head shared with the Committee communication between the school and the Vice President’s Office, which has shown interest in providing resources to upgrade the school into a modern one. The Committee was informed that the Surveyor General had visited the school and had done sitting for extra school blocks, a library, computer and science laboratories. Progress had been stalled by Cyclone Idai and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee was asked to assist the school with follow-up on the matter.
Katasa Primary School had classroom shortages as witnessed by only two functioning classroom blocks, each accommodating 153 learners. The third block was dilapidated with heavily cracked walls and a collapsed roof. Therefore, grade 1 and 2 as well as grade 6 and 7 pupils shared a classroom. The four classes were being taught by a single teacher, who is the headmaster. Grades 3, 4 and 5 also shared a single classroom and they were taught by a single teacher too. The school had no ECD block.
Most schools visited by the Committee had challenges with water and sanitation infrastructure. At Neshaya Secondary School, there was no running water/borehole water. The school relied on a ZESA breather that was located 3km away from the school for its water needs. The water source was also used by wild animals. In one incident, a teacher went to fetch water at the ZESA breather and was confronted by a wounded elephant. There was a high probability of incidences of human-wildlife conflict around the water point; the school needs a clean and safe water source.
The Committee also established that Neshaya Secondary School had received a donation of a submissive water pump that needed to be connected to the main electricity line. The Committee also found that all the necessary equipment for the connection to be done were in place but ZESA was just taking too long to execute the exercise. At Kasika Primary School, it was established that power lines and a transformer were also available and yet there was no electricity in the area. The school head highlighted that the issue had been several times with ZESA but no action had been taken to complete the project.
Availability of ICT equipment and the ability of how rural schools to conduct online lessons during COVID-19 lockdowns;
- The Ministry highlighted that the computerisation of the education system was being undertaken from a multi-stakeholder approach in terms of distribution of equipment and internet connectivity. It was highlighted that the Ministry and its stakeholders were responsible for strengthening and equipping schools with ICT gadgets while the Ministry of ICT and Courier Services complements the Ministry’s efforts by providing internet connectivity. The Committee learnt that in Harare Province, about 298 primary schools and 234 secondary schools were connected to internet followed by Manicaland Province with 239 at primary level and 182 at secondary level. The least number of schools with internet connectivity were in Matabeleland South.
- In terms of availability of ICT gadgets, Harare Province with a total of 16 850, had the highest number of ICT gadgets in the form of computers followed by Manicaland Province with a total of 12 764. The least number of ICT computers were in Mashonaland Central Province with a total of 4 804. The equipment had been purchased and donated by the following stakeholders and partners, but not limited to the President of Zimbabwe and School Development Committee,
- The Committee also established that most rural schools had no ICT gadgets, electricity and ICT trained teachers to facilitate the learning of the subject. Schools such as Kasika, Mutimuri, Katasa had no electricity as well as the ICT gadgets that can be used by the teacher during lessons.
- The Committee established that Neshaya, Chakohwa and Chimoyo Secondary Schools had electricity and had been connected by POTRAZ and ZARNET. Neshaya school had received 10 laptops from POTRAZ in 2020 and a desktop from the Ministry. However, schools like Chimoyo Secondary and Chakohwa Primary Schools were facing challenges of paying the monthly subscriptions to keep connected as the charges were exorbitant.
- The Committee also established that the laptop to learner ratio was too low as on average 10 to 20 learners were sharing a single laptop or desktop computer during ICT lessons, making it difficult to teach. At Chimoyo High School, only two computers were being shared among 520 learners. The Committee toured Chakohwa Primary School computer laboratory which had 19 desktop computers against 1164 pupils donated by parents and development partners. Sadly, the learners were learning while either standing or sitting on the floor as there was no furniture to use. The computer to pupil ratio at Chakohwa Primary School stood at 1:61.
- Schools such as Ngomeyebani and Mazungunye highlighted that they last received computer donations from the first republic and now were obsolete. However, the school head at Ngomeyebani mentioned that the school had resorted to renting about 20 computers from a company called Q-Rent. It was noted that this was costly as about ZWL $65 962 and ZWL $85 875 was paid as rent for the 20 computers during first and second term. The money used to pay computer rentals is deducted from the school levies.
- The Committee also gathered that most schools in rural areas did not manage to conduct online lessons during the COVID-19 era due to lack of the requisite equipment and absence of connectivity to the internet. The school administration and the parents could not afford online lessons as most of the learners come from underprivileged families owning affording a laptop/ICT gadget is considered a luxury.
Verification of Teacher Availability and Learning During Second Term
The Ministry highlighted that when schools opened during the first school term of 2022, the academic term was characterised by disturbances where some school heads, deputy heads and teachers did not turn up for work or in one way or another disrupted teaching and learning. Whilst the teachers’ unions called this action incapacitation, the Government viewed it as collective job action against conditions of service. In light of that, the Government swiftly moved in and offered teachers an improved package that was announced on national television by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development and were eventually accepted and an agreement signed between the Public Service Negotiators and the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade 20 Unions (ZCPSTU) at the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).
The Committee’s visits to schools established that teachers were present and teaching. However, the major challenge noted by the Committee was the high turnover of teachers in the remote schools with inadequate and poor infrastructure such as Mutimuri and Kasika Primary Schools.
The Committee observed that teacher moral was at its lowest as they face a wide range of challenges ranging from low inadequate salaries, lack of clean sources of water, poor and inadequate accommodation, inaccessibility of the area to other critical service centres like hospitals and cellphone networks among others. The school head at Chakohwa Primary school who confirmed that he will be retiring in four years’ time bemoaned the poor package for pensioners, which he noted as scaring for him to imagine. He pointed out that he had been in service for close to 40 years and yet he is scared of facing retirement as he is aware that he will walk away with nothing substantive.
At Kasika Primary School, the teachers have to travel a distance of about 3.5kms to access cellphone network and other services such as clinics and shops. The road network in some areas also discourages teachers from staying on the job as some buses are only available during the night. However, one headmaster in Zaka District pointed out that teachers were indeed present physically but practically absent as they were just coming to the register.
The Committee was informed that between 2020 and 2021, Kasika Primary School was run by the school head alone who manned all classes from ECD A to grade 7. The school only received six teachers during the year 2022, who are unlikely to stay longer in the area given the poor working conditions. It was highlighted that two teachers had already transferred leaving the four teachers available to teach composite classes as follows, ECD A and B, grades 3 and 4, grades 5 and 6 while there is only one teacher for grade 7. The DSI bemoaned the recruitment method which favours teachers from other regions to come and teach at the school while the local teachers are being side-lined. An example was given of a teacher who only reported for duty for a week and applied for a transfer while qualified teachers in the area remain unemployed.
The Committee also gathered that most schools in the rural communities were facing shortages of teachers mainly for Science, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels.
Most school heads raised concern over the BEAM facility which is crippling the proper functioning of schools due to non-release of funds by the Government. Many schools had gone for many years without receiving such funds hampering implementation of school projects. The Committee established that a school like Kasika was in a poor area where even the parents are incapacitated to even pay school fees. The school has a net enrolment of 128 learners of which in 2021, only 56 were on BEAM. The school head called on the Committee to ensure that Government meets this obligation which has a negative bearing on school operations when the funds are not released on time.
Mazungunye, Chakohwa and Mutonhori High School heads also bemoaned the huge number of learners who have been enrolled under the BEAM programme and yet the funds are not being disbursed religiously. Mazungunye School has about three quarters of its learners on BEAM and yet over the past three years no funds had been disbursed. The school head noted with concern the selection process which is flawed as the process is top-bottom rather than bottom-top approach. Most schools acknowledged being given figures for pupils to be enrolled on the BEAM facility without proper targeting based on needs assessment.
Madam Speaker, we have observed that those students who are on BEAM are turned away by more schools. They are turned away for non-payment of fees, whether they are on Government projects, social safety net, that is BEAM or failure to pay fees by the parents. That contravenes the Education Amendment Act which states that students should not be excluded from school. That is a violation of the basic right to education which is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. The DSIs and Ministry officials are not doing anything because these schools are contravening the Constitution. I think there is need for action to be taken so that schools are not turned away.
As a Committee, we received an incident of a school in Marondera where students were turned away last week on Thursday when they had an exam on Friday. Mr. Kunonga had to transport students who had not paid fees as a way of enforcing payment and in the process, that violated the children’s right to education. They were given a condition to go back to school, a condition of paying fees and in the process, some of the students ended up failing to sit for the exams.
Teaching of Practical Subjects (Agriculture, Physical Education, ICT, etc.)
The teachers across the board, particularly at Chimoio High School submitted that the teaching of practical subjects such as agriculture, physical education and ICT had become a daunting exercise given the limited resources to support the learning process. The teachers also noted the lack of specialised teachers to teach ICT and PE where the teacher has to go the extra mile and teach the subject regardless of his or her training background.
School Drop-outs Due to Pregnancy and Other Challenges
The Committee also inquired on the number of children, particularly girls who dropped out of school as a result of pregnancy or early marriages, among others challenges affecting school going children. The Committee gathered that the majority of girls had dropped out of school due to early marriages and pregnancy while the boys dropped out due to work related challenges such as engaging in mining activities. Chatiza High School in Mutoko District had the highest known record of school drop-outs in the district as 27 learners, all aged between 15 and 17 years, dropped out of school in 2021. Nineteen girls were married off or fell pregnant while nine boys dropped out of school. Most schools across the board, particularly secondary schools confirmed experiencing school drop-outs due to pregnancies and early marriages. Chimoyo High School lost 11 learners aged between 14 and 17 due to pregnancies and early marriages in 2021.
Continuous Assessment and Learning Activity (CALA)
Most teachers across the board bemoaned the new elephant in the room called CALA, which they believe is not being implemented in a holistic and fair manner across schools. The teachers at Chimoio and Mutonhori complained about the overload on the learner, parents and the teacher as they were expected to do three CALAs per learning area for grade 7s and five CALAs per learning area for ‘O’ level. The teachers also noted lack of commitment and cooperation from the parents due to lack of knowledge of the subject matter. Thus, the teachers proposed that the Committee undertake an inquiry on the benefits and practicality of the CALAs project in the education curriculum.
The Committee observed the following;
That the distribution of sanitary wear to schools remains a major challenge across all provinces despite the Ministry acknowledging that most provinces had received their allocations. The Committee gathered that there are transport challenges associated with the distribution and collection of the sanitary wear by school heads from the provinces as most schools are incapacitated.
That there is no clearly written down formula on how sanitary wear must be shared and distributed across provinces and schools. The Committee noted with concern the distribution of sanitary wear in Zaka District, which was shared equally among the schools without necessarily focussing on the enrolment of girls per school. For example, a recently established school like Chiedza Primary School received 48 packs disposable and 560 reusable pads, a satellite school like Makumire also received 48 packs and 560 reusable and an established school like Jerera with many girls received the same numbers.
Construction and Rehabilitation of Schools
On construction and rehabilitation, the Committee observed;
That while the 35 schools earmarked for construction across the country have been identified, there had not been noticeable progress on the project.
- That there was limited consultation of key stakeholders by the Ministry on identification of the sites for the proposed 35 schools.
- The Committee is concerned that satellite schools remain poorly developed and yet there are proposals for completely new sites altogether. A question would be asked as to why a school like Mutimuri without any infrastructure was not earmarked for such projects?
- That most schools’ infrastructure is dilapidated and requires rehabilitation, while some established schools require ICT and science laboratories so that the schools become modern in line with the new curriculum, which promotes the teaching of STEM subjects.
On teacher availability, the Committee observed;
That access to basic amenities and infrastructure remains critical in the retention of teachers in rural school. The Committee observed that most schools in the rural area learners were travelling long distances to access schools, clinics, shops and transport or even network had the highest staff turnover. Most teachers simply report for duty and within a week they seek transfers.
- That teacher recruitment remains a challenge especially that the recruitment exercise is not decentralised.
- That most teachers were finding it difficult to teach practical subjects without the enablers such as the ICT gadgets, laboratories and instruments and garden tools for agriculture among others.
- There was also need for the Government to invest in the training of teachers who specialise in science subjects and other technical subjects such as ICT, Physical Education and Agriculture.
- That there is urgent need for the Government to address the welfare of teacher welfare.
Availability of ICT Equipment.
On availability of ICT Equipment, the Committee observed;
- That most rural schools were not able to conduct online or radio lessons during the pandemic due to the unavailability of ICT gadgets in schools and the learners. The Committee noted with concern that to date some schools do not have electricity or internet connectivity, which impacts significantly on teaching during emergency situations as experienced with COVID-19 pandemic.
- That the pupil to computer or laptop ratio in most schools is appalling as most of the schools testified to having one or very few gadgets to use during ICT lessons.
- That the BEAM funds are not being disbursed religiously, thereby compromising service delivery in most schools as they have no other sources of income other than school fees. The Committee observed that most schools also witnessed an increase in the number of learners being covered by BEAM, which further strained budgets for schools when the government is not disbursing the funds.
- That the Committee further inquire and scrutinise how CALA is being implemented in all government schools.
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education must review the current procurement and distribution process of sanitary wear to schools to ensure that all the intended beneficiaries are reached using the most cost effective and efficient system by 31st December 2022.
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should develop a clear written down formula on how to distribute sanitary wear to different schools in a fair and timely manner by 31st December 2022.
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should prioritise the disbursement of grant-in-aid funds and PSIP funds towards school construction and rehabilitation during the 2023 financial year.
- The Ministry of Energy and Power Development should prioritise rural electrification of schools that are already close to electricity power lines by 31st December 2022.
- The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should decentralise teacher recruitment to provinces or districts as a measure to enable the deployment of local teachers in their home area by 31st December 2022.
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must always honour and disburse BEAM funds timeously and religiously to all beneficiaries to enable schools to function properly and efficiently.
- The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare must revive BEAM School Committees in urban areas so as to ensure that the facility remains restricted to poor and needy households only by December 2022.
The Committee applauds the government for setting aside resources for the development of the education sector, particularly enhancing access to education for all through the disbursement of funding towards the procurement and distribution of sanitary wear, ICT equipment, construction of school infrastructure and rehabilitation, among others. However, the Committee noted with concern the lack of an effective structure and monitoring mechanism to ensure that budgeted resources reach and benefit the intended beneficiaries. I thank you.
HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to second a report that was presented by Hon. Moyo who is the Chairperson of the Primary and Secondary Education Committee. We moved around the country visiting schools, to ascertain the information and facts that were submitted to the Committee by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. As we moved around the schools, there are a number of issues that we observed. We were mainly focusing on four issues, the first one being the provision of sanitary wear in rural schools.
On this score, I would like to thank the Government for availing sanitary wear to schools, though they are not enough. Some of the Heads of schools highlighted that they did not receive enough sanitary wear and some highlighted that they had not received anything and they were relying on sanitary wear that was purchased by their Schools Development Committees (SDCs). So I am appealing to the Government; the responsible authorities to make sure that schools are provided with enough sanitary wear so that the girl child benefits.
The second issue that we were looking at was the issue of construction and refurbishment of schools. To begin with, what we observed is in some areas, the roads are in a bad state. So it gives a challenge to the Ministry Officials when they want to visit some of the schools in remote rural areas. So, there is need for the responsible authorities to make sure that the roads in rural areas are maintained and upgraded.
The third issue that we observed is the issue of teacher accommodation. The houses that are in most of the primary schools in rural areas are very old and in a dilapidated state. There is a need to look at the issue of housing in most of the schools in rural areas. In some schools, the houses are very few. We have a situation where, 7, 8, 9 or 10 teachers share one house. In some cases, we are having teachers who are sharing the bedroom with their house maids. So there is no privacy at all in some schools.
The fourth issue is the issue of classroom blocks, which are very old and dilapidated. I think the Government has to put maximum effort in ensuring that the schools are upgraded, refurbished and renovated. We were also looking at the provision of ICT equipment in schools and how schools carried out online learning during the lockdown. On this one, we noted with great concern that some of the schools had no ICT gadgets at all. We also want to thank the Government for availing computers in some of the schools. However, in some of the schools that were provided with computers, the computers are not enough. Looking at the computer/pupil ratio, you could see that one computer is shared among 15 to 20 pupils. So computers are very few and there is need to make sure that more computers are provided to schools so that learning becomes meaningful in schools in rural areas.
We also observed that in most rural schools, electricity is a challenge. There is no electricity at all. There is no network connectivity, so it becomes a challenge for pupils to do online lessons even during the lockdown period.
Let me move on to the issue of teacher availability in schools during the opening of the second term. Some of the teachers reported for duty in time but others came late to schools. The challenge that they cited was teacher incapacitation. I think on that score, teacher remuneration needs to be looked at because when teachers are poorly remunerated, they cannot do their work as expected. They cannot carry out their work whole heartedly because they are not getting what they are supposed to be getting.
We also noted that in some schools, there are no toilets in the teachers’ quarters. Teachers rely on the toilets used by school pupils. That one is another issue which needs to be addressed. There is no clean water in some of the schools. There are no boreholes and teachers have to scramble with the community, murwizi, mumufuku. That one is a very big challenge that needs to be addressed. With these few words, I thank you.
*HON. R. NYATHI: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. I want to add my voice to the motion which was moved by Hon. Moyo, seconded by Hon. Murambiwa which was looking at the welfare of teachers and students, especially the girl child. Looking at the provision of sanitary pads, I saw it fit that we need to take these as crucial because when a girl child in the rural areas does not have sanitary wear, this can affect the girl’s psychological and mental well-being. There are a lot of biological effects which affect the mental state of the child in terms of grasping whatever they are being taught at school.
I want to appreciate the Committee which did a good job in gathering this information. They mentioned that in rural areas, there are many schools which lack ICT. When students write their examinations, they write the same examinations with those that are in urban centres. Those in the rural areas are disadvantaged because they do not have equal opportunities with those in urban centres. For us to have quality and equity in schools, we cannot have exams which are meant for the rural and the urban areas. The best is to try by all means as Government to avail opportunities to children in rural and urban areas through equitable distribution of ICT and other technology.
The other thing which I saw which was mentioned by the previous speakers is the issue of infrastructure which is found in rural areas like classrooms and teachers’ houses. You would find that most rural schools do not produce good results compared to urban schools. If you are a teacher, you need a good place to produce good results. At the end of the day, the environment speaks to the results. You would find that students are affected by different weather conditions, whether it is raining, cold or hot because some learn in open spaces. This affects their performance, so it is important to look at the budgets that are allocated to rural schools. Government should make effort to allocate money to rural schools so that schools can be constructed in order to bridge the gap between students in rural and urban areas.
It is important to also note that rural students walk for long distances to school and they arrive at school tired. It affects their performance and at the end of the day, you end up thinking that they are not good at school but it is because of the environment. If you move that student to urban areas, you will discover that they will perform far much better than those who are in urban areas.
The other issue which was mentioned regards teachers. The accommodation which is given to teachers in rural areas is not sufficient. You find teachers sharing the same house, maybe two families or more. This means that we have taken away their decency and their privacy. They now live like boarding students. These are qualified professionals who are supposed to be honoured and respected in society. These are the people who mould everyone. It is important that in schools we find ways of providing proper and adequate accommodation for teachers so that they are not affected. This is reflected even upon marking of pupils books. These are people who take work to their homes and you find that they will be seated on their beds marking books. At times, they are expected to produce reports. This type of accommodation is not good for them.
Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I also noted the issue on their transport. It is important that teachers who work in rural areas are given a special allowance for transport. Those who work in remote areas must be given allowances which will cushion and motivate them in the discharge of their duties so that those who teach in urban areas are motivated to go and teach in rural areas. It must not be like those who teach in rural areas are the poor and those who do not excel. Those who teach in urban areas should desire to go and teach in rural areas. In rural areas, there is no transport, there is no proper accommodation and two or three families share the same house. When they want to invite their spouses, sometimes they do not have a place. My desire is that if possible teachers should be given decent accommodation so that when they are married and have families they can have their privacy.
The previous speaker mentioned that when they were gathering information around the country, they noted that some teachers live with their maids and children and this exposes them. It is important that rural teachers are given individual houses where they can have two or three rooms where they can buy their own properties because it is important that teachers also have properties which they will use after retirement. After retirement, they would need that furniture but without proper accommodation, it is difficult to buy furniture.
Hon. Speaker, it is important that as legislators, as Government, we need to create a conducive environment so that our teachers can go and teach in rural areas with motivation and good working conditions. I want to thank the Portfolio Committee on Education which went around the country and gathered this crucial information which feeds into Vision 2030 which is supposed to make sure that by 2030, everyone will be having a decent life. This would allow us to realise the President’s Vision 2030. Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to add a few words concerning the report which was given by Hon. Moyo and his seconder. Hon. Speaker, if you are to consider the recommendations made in the report, most of the issues have been mentioned before.
If you are to consider the recommendations that he made, most of those recommendations were mentioned by other committees and some Members of Parliament on the investigations that were done and we posed questions to the different Ministers. If you look at it Madam Speaker, you will see that there are three ministries that can be affected by this report. So we want to thank them and we keep reminding each other.
I am happy that the report has come through before the budget has been presented and debated which then affects in planning that if anything needs to be addressed, this is the opportunity because we can continue talking of sanitary wear that it is not available in rural areas as children are using cow dung. This past week, it was mentioned that children are using cow dung and unclean methods to deal with menstruation. This has been investigated and there is no sanitary wear and if there is no sanitary wear, a child can use anything. It is embarrassing because the child does not have the requisite sanitary wear to use during menstrual period. It also affects their education and performance in class.
Madam Speaker, I heard Hon. Moyo talk about the gap between the rich and the poor in the rural areas but it is also happening even in urban areas because the money that we use is the same. So if a person does not have the money, it means he is faced with a challenge. When we look at the rights of the children, we need to consider the rights despite being in rural or urban areas. There are other children in urban areas who cannot afford sanitary wear.
I wanted to ask Hon. Moyo that we even have children in urban centres who cannot afford sanitary wear. We are legislators in urban centres and we have seen children go hungry and without sanitary wear. So when it comes to distribution and the beneficiaries, those children are disadvantaged and they should be incorporated. Some of them are even under BEAM. So that is what I want to add to the recommendations.
We are saying that for a child who is under BEAM, it is important that a child should be availed the necessary resources. If you are to move around in communities, you can tell that a child is under BEAM because most of them do not have the adequate uniform or shoes and some of them do not even have food to eat. So that is a challenge that I thought I would also add that communities are facing challenges. You know that when hunger strikes, it strikes all those families.
What I also wanted to add is that even the food that they have to eat at schools, what we know as the school feeding scheme, that should be reintroduced to ensure that children get that one meal a day to enable them to learn and have a future because learning with a hungry stomach does not yield results.
In rural areas, Hon. Moyo said there is no WiFi. Even in urban centres, it is not there. So I hope that when he looks at the report, he will look at the recommendations and ensure that schools get WiFi. I once requested MPs to stand up asking who had a cellphone and they all stood up. We all need cellphones, even the poor need cellphones and children need to have the resources and the phones for them to use in their education and the necessary WiFi.
Madam Speaker, you know that in the 50s, 60s and 70s, Zimbabwe was number one in the region in terms of education. We can still claim that title if we are to seriously consider the recommendations that have been given by Hon. Moyo and his Committee.
Madam Speaker, let me look into the issues of BEAM funding. Yes, we always hear people talking that their children are being expelled from school because they are not paying. So the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should be adequately funded to ensure that the fees are paid because those in rural areas, by the time that money gets to them, they would have lost a lot of lessons and it affects their education.
Two weeks ago, the Minister responded to questions and said that he is working towards the payment of BEAM funds for all children but what we are saying is that if the Ministry is not allocated the requisite funds, they will not be allowed to cover the areas requiring BEAM. So that money should be adequately allocated and available. You find children are also concerned why they are under BEAM. One thing we should know is that poverty is not voted for, so it is a recommendation we can take up to say that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development will be able to look into the issue especially on BEAM and vulnerable groups and that money should be availed for sanitary wear and school feeding programme to ensure that they learn on a full stomach. On the issue of electricity, I think last week whilst at the Pre-Budget seminar, a lot was been said on Rural Electrification Agency REA which has not done much in order to avail electricity in rural areas. It is our hope that if you look when you go and buy ZESA tokens, everyone is paying for REA. It means REA has got its own money before you even buy electricity. So what it means is that they can pull together those funds and ensure that schools are connected with electricity and that should assist the rural areas in terms of acquiring electricity.
It also becomes easier for the teachers to mark the school books. The challenge that we have is that our teachers are leaving. There is a brain drain - just a few weeks ago, we took other teachers to Rwanda, which means that the teachers are there but they do not have employment. You heard Hon. Moyo saying that he visited one school and there were only two teachers. In our colleges, each and every year the President graduates a number of teachers. So it is my hope that the money that is used for funding teacher education should come with employment for them to be able to rent service. Long ago, people used to go to colleges and it would all be paid for by the Government and they would have to pay back.
Currently, we heard that the Government has stopped taking teachers. On the issue of morale, I think I mentioned before when a report was brought in and Ambassador Misihairabwi-Mushonga was still the Chairperson of the Committee, we mentioned on non-monetary benefits. We talked about their clothing and we requested that a clothing allowance be availed to them. Years ago, people used to have accounts in shops like Sales House and Edgars and that enabled people to get clothes and pay on a monthly basis but currently, they can no longer afford this.
So it is better that they get an allowance so that they can be smartly dressed. For teachers, they have to be in a jacket and tie but if I do not have the money to buy a tie, do you expect me to wear a tie and jacket when I cannot afford? Long ago, our teachers were well respected and it was a noble profession and even the wives of teachers were respected. My request is that we restore the dignity of the teacher. Years ago, if you asked a child what profession they wanted to do they would say I want to be a teacher but today if you ask a whole class what profession they want, may be ten will say they want to be teachers. We even have teachers in this House, those who were teachers in their life. Let us look into this matter.
I now want to conclude by talking about the issue of accommodation. Hon. Nyathi talked about that matter and he said that there is no adequate accommodation for teachers. It is the same thing with their welfare. If the flats that are being built in urban centers were built in rural areas, it would be good and you will find that there will be an urban rural migration because of the good accommodation. We need funding to ensure that the accommodation issue is addressed so that teachers have decent accommodation.
On the issue of water, it was said that there is no water and proper toilets. If water is not available, it affects the women more. A girl child who is at home is requested to go and fetch water. My request is that the Ministry of Water embarks on borehole drilling plan to ensure that water is readily available especially in rural areas because it will reduce the burden of unpaid care work. Water is life and it is a right and that should be addressed. Without water, there is no hygiene and health. Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity and I want to thank the Committee that went and investigated on this matter.
HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the debate on the report of the Committee Chaired by Hon. T. Moyo. I will not waste much time touching on most of the issues that my fellow Hon. Members have debated on. I will debate not in any particular order but issues that I thought that came to my mind whilst I was listening to the debate. It is quite unfair for schools to be dismissing and denying school children who are on BEAM to attend lessons. This should be looked at seriously.
I think it should be criminalised so that headmasters or school heads know that children on BEAM should not be denied access to education at all. It is not their fault Madam Speaker but it is the fault of a certain Ministry whichever it is, whether it is the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Social Welfare that we need to look at and not to deny the child their right. It is their right to education Madam Speaker Ma’am.
Let me quickly move to the recruitment of teachers that has been talked about many times that we need to decentralise the employment of school teachers. This issue has been on the table and has done rounds many times but it seems it is falling on deaf ears. Imagine a teacher who was born and bred in Muzarabani and then he is sent to teach in Matabeleland or in Tsholotsho where sometimes you need to use the vernacular language to explain to children, they cannot be able to communicate effectively, It also impacts on the pass rates of schools in rural areas. So we call upon the Government to quickly see how they can decentralise the employment of school teachers because as we move, we need to improve our pass rates in rural areas.
If you go to rural areas and you look at the teacher to pupil ratio, it is unbelievable. Some teachers are teaching as much as 70/75 children per teacher which is unacceptable. I think the normal rate should be about 30 or below 30. In private schools even 15 or 20 and here is a teacher who wants to teach 75 children needing attention from one person, it is absolutely insane. We need to look at that Madam Speaker and encourage Government to employ more school teachers.
The issuance of sanitary wear Madam Speaker touched my heart when Hon. Moyo was reading his report. It seems sanitary wear was distributed but somewhere along the line, did not reach the intended destination. How can a whole Government release sanitary wear to schools with no one monitoring distribution? Madam Speaker, this is a point of concern because somewhere along the line, someone is stealing these or someone could be stealing these – I do not want to be misquoted, someone could be stealing these and selling them and putting the money in their pockets whilst our young girls are suffering in the rural areas. So, we need strict monitoring on that.
Let me move onto rural school infrastructure Madam Speaker Ma’am. I think it is deplorable. I was watching the presentation by Hon. Moyo, and almost shed a tear as I saw one of the school structures there; to say in this day and age, we still have mud and pole classrooms; that really needs to be looked at. We need new buildings and renovations to be made in schools.
Madam Speaker, let me move onto recommendations on what I feel we need to do as a Government and as a people. Firstly Madam Speaker, if it is possible, we need to identify businesses that are benefiting from resources where these schools are lying and make them participate in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For example Madam Speaker, we have mines that are benefitting from national resources in certain areas where schools do not even have roads. Particularly the Chinese are mining and not engaging in any CSR; serious challenges that we have. So we need to identify such businesses that are benefiting from natural resources from these areas to practice in CSRs. We should also identify certain businesses Hon. Speaker that need to partner with the schools in these areas so that they can improve the education of children in those particular areas.
I move onto my second recommendation Hon. Speaker Sir that there is need to capacitate our Schools Development Councils (SDCs) to have financial literacy, like my Hon. Brother Hon. Tendai Biti. We need financial literacy in school SDCs Hon. Speaker Sir so that they can run small businesses that can help schools to maintain and renovate their school structures. I think there was an example of a school in Zaka, if I am not mistaken in the report, that is doing very well and the SDC is performing.
Hon. Speaker, I also recommend to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to release BEAM funds, if possible Hon. Speaker, directly to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. I wonder why this money is going through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. We heard just two weeks ago, that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development alluded to the fact he has already paid all the BEAM money to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare yet school children are being turned away because the money is yet to reach the intended destinations. Why does the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development not have a plan to pay the BEAM fees directly to the schools or to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education?
We need to electrify our schools through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Hon. Speaker Sir, so that teachers can feel comfortable and be able to catch up with the rest of the world. We are living in a global village Hon. Speaker Sir and anyone who is beneficially employed has got capacity to buy a television set and also be up to date with the world to see what is happening around the world.
Hon. Speaker, the Government needs to avail textbooks to rural schools. It is a known fact Hon. Speaker that rural areas have a low disposable income versus urban areas. Hence books and other tools of trade are needed in rural areas to make the work of the rural teacher much easier.
From the Committee Report, it seems that the District Schools Inspectors (DSIs) are not visiting schools constantly. Had they been visiting schools and doing their jobs properly Hon. Speaker, we would have long detected that sanitary wear is not reaching the intended destination. So, we need to have a mechanism where our DSIs get to do their work correctly.
Hon. Speaker, let me now touch on the issue of devolution funds. It is my thinking Hon. Speaker that devolution funds be budgeted with a bias towards the improvement of schools under their jurisdiction. When they are crafting the budget, there should be, you know like we do with certain quotas in Parliament where we have a certain quota for a certain class or sector of people, we should have that cluster or sector in our devolution fund to say, out of this devolution fund, this is going particularly to improve schools or to build new school blocks; that will improve our rural infrastructure Hon. Speaker.
Again Hon. Speaker, through Parliament, Government needs to make a deliberate effort to capacitate Members of Parliament financially by increasing their Constituency Development Fund (CDF), with a bias towards renovating and improving schools and building of new blocks. This will also help to see our education being resuscitated because if we do not do this Hon. Speaker, it is very difficult for only one Ministry to do the renovations, build new school blocks and to provide books. It is my thinking and submission Hon. Speaker. Thank you for the time that you have given me to offer and speak about these issues. Before I sit down, I want to also inform you that I am a son of a rural school headmaster. So I know about these issues, they are real and we really need to up our game Hon. Speaker. I thank you.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Good afternoon to you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Good afternoon to you Hon. Banda.
(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to this report with my colleagues in Primary and Secondary Education Mr. Speaker Sir.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the first point of concern is that we need the report that Parliament receives from the Ministry. It looks like some of the information that we are given is cooked up so that we have the wrong picture. So I want to urge ministries, especially the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to give us accurate information so that whatever they present to Parliament is the truth. Remember, they will be coming under Oath. So when they give us a report and we go to verify only to find that things are not as they stated, then there will be a serious disconnect between the Ministry and Parliament.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I will just round off with a few issues that were captured in the report. The first issue of concern Mr Speaker Sir is that of sanitary wear. I remember Her Excellency Ambassador Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, had she been here today, I think she would have literary removed her pant and showed us the pad or maybe that she would not even be putting on one. Why? Because we are not giving school children anything. The Ministry claims that all the pads are going to the schools but the factual report by Parliament shows a completely different picture.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we cried in this august House so that sanitary wear can be given to each and every girl who is in class so that they can focus on school. What we have here is haphazard. Remember Mr. Speaker Sir that this is just a sample and not what is transpiring throughout the school population. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to urge the Ministry to ensure that they use the funds that have been provided to supply pads. We cannot just wait for development partners to assist us on this because Parliament passed this motion and it really has to be taken up like that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to move to the next issue, which is that of construction of schools. Mr. Speaker Sir, in the budget, there were about 35 schools, actually there were even more but now the Ministry is saying there are 35 model schools and there is a budget of about 4,69 million ZWL. They are saying something has started but when the Committee went on the ground, they found that nothing has started as yet. So, this is just showing that there is something very wrong. This has to be corrected with immediate effect because we are in a time of post COVID whereby schools and classes were made smaller and now we need more infrastructure.
So now, if we are talking of a budget which is just sitting and not being used, how can you be giving more money to building more schools which we require when we are not using the little that we have been given? It is better to use the little that we have been given and then go back to the Ministry of Finance to say this money has already been used, can you give us some more. So, this calls for more action from the Ministry and also from the Ministry of Finance and even from us as Parliament so that we all ensure that these schools are built, not even within the five years that they have stipulated. Why build a school in five years, why not two or three years? If we can do a road like the Harare-Beitbridge Road in three years, honestly we can do schools in fewer periods than that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we all want to go to the issue of teachers; we really need to do more for our teachers. Just last week, I met my former Geography teacher, I felt sorry. I think we need to do more on these teachers so they can continue to produce more. We also need to ensure that teachers remain respectable and loved.
Let me now turn to the issue of availability of ICT equipment. It is a challenge in the rural schools even in urban areas. Not every parent in town is able to afford a gadget for the student. So you find that the pupils suffer even in urban areas because they do not have these gadgets. So there is something that has to be done so that we can also assist them.
With those few words, I want to thank you so much and I also want to thank Dr. Moyo for presenting such a touching motion.
(v)HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I just want to add my voice on the motion by Hon. Moyo which is a very touching report. I am just going to specifically speak on sanitary pads. Mr. Speaker Sir, as a mother and as a woman, going on your menstruation is nature hence sanitary pads must be availed at all times. According to the report that Hon. Moyo has presented, it stated that not all schools got these sanitary pads. If we look at the number of schools in Zimbabwe, there are so many and money will never be enough to supply sanitary pads to all these children.
I recommend that the Government, instead of buying these sanitary pads, should provide material and sewing machines to schools. When we were growing up, we used to have a class of fashion and fabrics. These children can actually learn to make sanitary pads within the schools rather than waiting for sanitary pads which we do not know when they are going to be availed hence denying the children their right to education because they are not able to attend class.
There is also need to engage parents, particularly in the rural areas. When these sewing machines are supplied and materials are supplied to schools in rural areas, parents can actually come in and volunteer to sew sanitary pads. It is the practical solution in view of the fact that all parents want their children to attend school. No one would want their child to stay at home because they are having their menstruation cycle.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I plead with the Ministry of Finance to provide funding to schools to buy these machines. I know in rural areas, there is a problem of electricity but there are machines, for instance the Singer Sewing Machines which do not need electricity. You can actually get those to capacitate schools, engage the SDC’s in school and engage the parent in the local community to come and sew these sanitary pads for their children so that they get a basic education and they will all attend class regardless of going on their menses or not.
*HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the report that was done by the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education and moved by Hon. Moyo.
I just want to add my experience when we traveled as a Committee. We observed that the issue of sanitary wear is a challenge in many schools. The biggest challenge on the issue of sanitary wear is the procurement of it and being disbursed in schools. It is my view that Government should revise the ways of distributing the sanitary wear. The Government should disburse sanitary wear to district levels where these children can easily access them.
Secondly, during the tour of schools by the Committee, it was noted that a lot of schools do not have electricity and yet the pupils need to move on with e-learning and the new curriculum. Therefore, I am pleading with the Government to urgently electrify these schools so that the rural pupils can also use computers.
Thirdly, we noted that teachers are very few in rural areas and I think the Government should build modern houses at each and every school in the rural areas so that teachers are motivated to work in remote areas like Tsholotsho, Mwenezi, Binga and other rural areas.
Lastly, I would like touch on the issue of BEAM. Most of the schools are incapacitated because BEAM funds are availed late. You will find that in a school, three quarters of the pupils are on BEAM funding. How then can the school operate, how can they develop when there are no funds? We request the Government to consider timeous release of BEAM funds so that at least in January, children on BEAM have their funds allocated. These are the few words that I thought I would add to what Hon. T. Moyo said.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add my voice on the report given by Hon. T. Moyo. I am not in the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education. The report speaks to the heart of the education system; we owe it to posterity. I know for a fact when some of us went to school, I remember my father worked for Supersonic; it was a radio making factory. He did not get much, he got pittance from his work. We went – [AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member is not connected.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: He is connected.
HON. NDUNA: I am connected, just in case the Hon. Member wants to see my face; I have connected to video as well. Mr. Speaker Sir, we would go to our rural home every weekend and during that time, we passed through a plethora of road blocks as we went to Gokwe Mindamirefu. It was during the liberation struggle and we would also go to Mberengwa. It was with a reason to go and try to sell the cattle in order that we could go and embark on our education. I remember I left Lobengula Primary School and went to McKeurtan Primary School in Entumbane and then later on went to Gifford High School.
In all that Mr. Speaker, if you look at his salary and where we were getting our education, there was not much but it is the sacrifice that I want to talk about where he would then sell cattle in order for us to be where we are today and to be where we wanted to be at the time. It was a family of four boys and two girls, so there was not much in terms of salary. I touch on that point in particular where I am encouraging parents to continue to sacrifice for their children. BEAM is not much, there is a local component and there is an international component going on to BEAM.
Where I come from, you will find that there are councillors who have even advanced their children to access BEAM education, that is not right. It should not be condoned Mr. Speaker that able bodied parents sent their children to go and access BEAM. If at all BEAM should be for the disadvantaged children or even those with parents cannot access any form of employment or those that are disabled, we have 15% of those that are disabled. These are the children who must access BEAM including those of war veterans who are incapacitated, who have different disability capacities of different percentage. These are the children that should be accessing BEAM, not children of city fathers and children of Members of Parliament and people that even have the capacity to do food for work. Those are not the children who should be accessing BEAM.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say when we went to school, there used to be umkara or milk at the gate where we would access milk before we went for classes. It was in order that there is complementation and augmentation of the little that we would have ingested during breakfast if at all before lessons. Yours truly debated on school feeding programme during the Eighth Parliament and I am very happy that the listening Government did introduce the issue of primary school feeding programme. I request that that be continued in order to augment on BEAM that is free education and also for the children that are coming in from far off in terms of the feeding. Otherwise our children especially in the rural areas are going for more than 5 kilometres only to sleep in class and wake up only to travel back home in the night.
Mr. Speaker Sir, to augment their education aptitude, I request that there must be continuation of the school feeding programme in so far as infrastructure is concerned. These are my proposals and they should be taken seriously because according to Section 72 of the Constitution, there is no longer any land issues that should find themselves in the courts of law. The Constitution speaks of that and in particular, Section 72(VII)(C), it implores this Parliament to make sure that the people of Zimbabwe should be enabled to assert their right to land.
There is a global initiative agreement I think that speaks to compensation of improvements in the farming community especially – [HON. BITI: 3.5 billion.] – 3.5 billion I am told Mr. Speaker Sir. When Government embarked on a land redistribution exercise, it was for the land, it was not for the infrastructure especially for the beneficiaries. So, I propose that the houses that were in those farming communities and including any infrastructure that was there, should reside with Government, it should not be for the beneficiary of that land or of that farm so that we can use that infrastructure for classes, clinics, if the school exists or otherwise Mr. Speaker Sir, especially if this land falls under Section 72 on the Land Redistribution Exercise complimented by the Agrarian Reform Act of 2000 Mr. Speaker Sir. So this is how you can augment that infrastructure. I go further, I will be bringing a motion to this House where the people that are in the compounds should be allowed to use those houses and extend those houses where we should pipe water, install electricity and build roads to the places we call komboni or compounds.
In the future, because the powers now reside with the President, the powers that be should now give title deeds to those houses so that we do not have people going into towns to access both education and housing infrastructure development. The compounds should be given title deeds and people should be allowed to extend houses in those areas and part of the farms should also give room for infrastructure development; electricity and piped water to the houses, clinics and schools. This is the only way we can urbanise the rural areas. We cannot continue to have the haves and the havenots. There is a big gap and this is how you can treat that gap.
Coming to ICT, His Excellency the President of the Second Republic, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa has embarked on an ambitious Information Communication Technology programme where he is giving computers to schools. He has given to Pfupajena Primary and Secondary Schools 40 computers each. This is my proposal that as he has promised through his other arms, to come to Tiverton Primary which is in Ward 25 with Tinashe Manjovha as the Chairman. He has also promised to come to Bosbury Primary to give computers and the Chairman there is Cde Lameck Nyamarango. He is also going to Cde Nkomo in Ward 28 at Zvamaida Primary School to give computers.
My proposal is this one; that these computers in those areas, there be provision of WiFi so that there can no longer be a situation where the rural lights are living as though they are in an era which is BBC – born before computers. They should come into a scenario where there is coordination, cooperation and networking using these computers so that when the children leave primary school, there is need to have ICDL (International Computer Drivers’ License) using what we have to get what we can, that which we have been given by His Excellency to improve the education system. There should not be any difference when we go to the University of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, there is a module that speaks to computer learning in the Law Faculty and a programme that I am currently pursuing. You can see that the children that have come from the rural schools struggle, not only to write the exam but also to have aptitude on embarking, controlling and having programmes and issues on the desktops and laptops. This should not be happing in this era of the 21st Century where we have children who have no access to information communication technology, let alone embark on a the control of the same.
Now on water and ablution, let us get to an era where when you get into an ablution facility you can take off your jacket and hang it. Whilst you are seated on that pan you are able to read your newspaper and also access your Ipad. This is not happening in the rural areas. If at all, there is what is called open defecation where you are going behind a tree and relieving yourself. In this 21st Century, it should not happen either in the urban or rural sector. It is happening in my Ward 5 in Chegutu West constituency in the urban society. People are still squatting Mr. Speaker.
At number N23A, it is a sorry sight. The issue of water and ablution should be revisited but how do you visit it in the urban sector especially if at home you cannot have access to ablution facilities that are impeccable? You definitely have no ablution facilities in the schools. In this day and era, we should not be having squatting toilets and ablution facilities. As I have alluded to, you should be able to remove your jacket, hang it on the door and carry on with the business of the ablution block.
There is a saying that says anonzwa manyoka ndiye anorara akatsamhira gonhi. In some of these schools there is no gonhi/door to talk about in these ablution facilities. We cannot continue to have blair toilets in this day and age. It is a miracle that our children go into these blair toilets and come out alive. Some of them could even fall into that pit latrine and never to be found again. I shudder to think how many might even have lost their lives through falling into those areas.
In the urban sector, there is how you can solve the issue of water, sewer and reticulation in the schools is the issue of solving the amount of water that is treated at the water treatment plant. If there is a deficit, this is where the challenge resides. There is need in the urban sector, first and foremost to attend to the water treatment plants. Some of them were built in the 50s and 70s, especially where I come from in Chegutu. We have what we call clarifiers, eight of them and the last one was built in 1979. So, there is a deficit of water. We need 22 mega litres and we are only treating 10 mega litres. We also have six sedimentors and that needs augmentation and complementation. This is how you can treat the issue of water and sewer reticulation in the urban sector by attending to the water treatment plant.
How do you deal with it in the rural part? I am currently embarking on a borehole drilling programme that has been advanced by His Excellency the President Cde. Dr. E. D Mnangagwa. He has given me a drill rig and he has commissioned me to drill two boreholes per village. I have 24 villages in Ward 24, 35 villages in Ward 25 and 13 villages in Ward 28. My work is cut out for me but I am saying it should not end only in borehole drilling. There is need to electrify those boreholes, there is only one-four roomed teachers’ house which is shared among the five teachers’ households and pipe the water in the households in the villages including to the schools. This is what is currently obtaining and this is how we can solve the issue of water.
Lastly, we find condoms in men’s toilets. I have been a man all my life and I have seen that condoms are dotted around all toilets – we should also find pads for our children in the ablution blocks. Before independence, women were treated like children – no voting rights and working rights of any nature. We should not continue to treat women as slaves. We need to make sure that the formally marginalised black majority in particular, access good hygiene starting from our primary schools. If we do not find pads for free in the toilets, withdraw the condoms so that the man and the girl child are at par. We need to have equal rights for our children. I thank you for giving me this opportunity to viciously, effectively and efficiently air my views in the manner that the people of the constituency of Chegutu would have heard me debate; that is Patricia Nyamadzawo, Sarah Chikukwa, Lameck Nyamarango, Mr. Nkomo and Tinashe Manjova. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you very much for allowing me to debate on this very important issue. I would also want to thank the Committee Chairperson – Dr. Moyo and all those who seconded the report. The report, although it primarily targeted at the issue of sanitary wear, is really a microcosm of the state of the education sector in the country; the state of our schools in the country.
When you read this report, the most shocking thing for me is how as a people we have disinvested from education. The greatest achievement of the late Cde Robert Mugabe was his achievements and attainments on education. For a long time, Zimbabwe had the highest literacy rate on the sub-Saharan continent with our literacy rate being around 95%. We have lost that privileged position. Somewhere along the line, we got comfortable and forgot to continuously invest in education. Some of the statistics will shock you. In the first decade of independence, our Government was investing outside salaries. Twenty per cent of the budget towards education and education infrastructure – in the last 20 years, bar wages and wages to education still comprise the biggest component of the wage bill because teachers are the biggest number of Government employees. If you remove the wage bill, the investment on education is a mere 2% and the net result is what you see in this report. Takarara nezamu mumukanwa and we completely and totally disinvested from education.
If you read this report, and I want to talk about schools that I know, if you go to Mt Darwin North at a place called Nyakatondo, there is a school called Kapfudza Primary School and Gomo Secondary School. The esteemed Member of Parliament for Mt Darwin can testify to this – there is no water at these schools. The teachers have to fetch water from Mukumbura River but on the Mozambican side. Parents there will tell you that no teacher lasts for three terms. They come for one or two terms and after the third term, they make an application and leave the school. Obviously, that has ripple effects on the quality of education being reproduced at that school.
If you look at Mashonaland Central in particular, the quality and result of education is low. If you look at the demographic health survey of 2011 and 2015 – Mashonaland Provinces have the worst statistics globally on education, maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate in the entire country on ablution facilities that Hon. Nduna was talking about. My point being that we disinvested from education.
I want to give two or three examples from the report and allow me to read paragraph 4.2.10 – there is a school called Kasika Primary School, there is only one-four roomed teachers’ house which is shared amongst the five teachers; the report says teachers but they have families. So, five households are sharing one room.
I will give another example from the report. There is a school, I think it is in Gokwe – Mutimuri Primary school which has a sub-standard two roomed flat house shared by two teachers and unfinished five roomed house. There are no staff toilets. Teachers and learners use Blair toilets.
Katasa Primary School has two functioning classrooms yet it has 153 learners. There is another school there which the report mentioned where the teachers complex actually has no school. Teachers have to go far away to the Blair toilets that are in the school facilities, which Blair toilets were designed for children. It is important that our Government invests real money in education.
The issue of the poor infrastructure of educational facilities is linked to the lack of rural development in Zimbabwe. We need an accelerated programme of rural development. Forty three years after independence, we have an enclave economy – we have a narrow society where 30% of the population lives, which population houses places like Borrowdale or Highlands but 70% of our people are living in the rural areas where there is no electricity or tarred roads.
It is a crime Hon. Speaker Sir that only 30% of the population of Zimbabwe has access to electricity. It is a crime that 44 years after independence, only 44% of our people have access to tapped water. It is a crime Hon. Speaker that 44 years after independence, a huge chunk of our population in some provinces – I will not mention which one, 79% of our people are still using the bush as a form of ablution.
Where I come from in Mashonaland East, there is a lot of fruit trees you will find in the bush – mango and peach trees and you will know that Nyamuzihwa vakambopfuura neipapo vakaita zviro zvavo because there are no ablution facilities in the country. It is so important that we develop infrastructure. One of the things that worries me Mr. Speaker, is the population boom by 2045, the population of Zimbabwe would have doubled in the next 20 years, the population of Harare alone would be 10 million people but we do not have the necessary infrastructure to deal with these issues. It is therefore important that we find the resources to modernise Zimbabwe. The development and urbanisation of rural areas (DURA) is an urgent priority.
Where do we get the funding? The first point is, let us create a sovereign wealth fund. Our minerals Mr. Speaker Sir, are being grabbed by foreigners. Lithium for instance, has literally been taken over by the Chinese in Zimbabwe. We have got iron ore at Manhize which has been taken over. Let us create a sovereign wealth fund. Let us charge these huge mining giants proper royalties. The oil that is being dug in Muzarabani; Section 139 of the Mines and Minerals Act is very clear. You cannot be given a special mining lease without showing that you have got USD100 million on the table. I can assure you Mr. Speaker, most of these people that have been granted special mining leases in Zimbabwe do not have even USD5 million. They are just coming here to grab our assets. The issue of a sovereign wealth fund is very critical.
Secondly, let us create a development fund. We have created a devolution fund but there is no law to back those devolution funds. Even the provincial councils that are supposed to be elected to manage those funds are not there. Let us actualise devolution so that we have duly elected provincial councils with a provincial council chairperson or a provincial governor and a provincial Government as defined in Chapter 14 of our Constitution. The devolution councils and provincial councils were created for development, Section 269 of the Constitution. They were created for development, nothing about us without us. It is only the people in Tsholotsho who will know which school to start with, which bridge to start with. Devolution is a developmental agenda and let us actualise devolution so that devolution funds are not the private property of the Minister of Local Government but they are actually administered by the Minister of Finance to the provinces so that they can deal with the development issues.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I lost my grandfather, so I have been spending a lot of time in the rural areas. The state of the roads with the rain season just starting now, we are not prepared for a disaster. I can assure you that if the met predictions that we are going to have heavy rains and some floods in some areas are true then a lot of people are going to lose their lives unnecessarily because we are not prepared but I am discussing and talking about education. We need to monetise education. We need to walk the talk. Mr. Speaker, I am speaking very nice and very good English because Robert Mugabe sent me to school at Goromonzi High School where we were paying USD8. My parents will never afford it. My father was just a taxi driver at Rixi Taxis. Goromonzi was an elite school at that time and to go there you needed to have four points. I would never have been able to go to school without going to an elite Government school, namely Goromonzi High School. So education is a passport Mr. Speaker Sir. Education is a licence to life. When I went to school, there was a saying that said, ‘why worry Goromonzi after Form 4’. Even ‘O’ level was a licence but now even someone with a PhD, it means nothing. We need to invest in education. I want to thank the Committee for the visits that they made in Binga, Gokwe, Manicaland and Chakohwa,there is a fair representation. That is why I say this report is a macrocosm of the state of education in this country. This report is saying we have underfunded education but a country that underfunds education is underfunding itself. It is cutting its feet because education is the driver. Education is the licence, education is literacy and education is opening up, kuvhura maziso. We need to go back to the matrix of the first decade of independence where 20% of the real budget outside wages was devoted to education. There are some countries now Mr. Speaker, that are producing people that are going to moon. There are some African countries that are making major developments in research and technology. Zimbabwe, we cannot even make a spoon. Go to the industrial sites, we are just assembling things that are made by other people. Why is it by now, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries ought to be manufacturing the country’s cars. I was in Lesotho two days ago, I saw a car made by a Mosotho being displayed there. Everything about that car was made in Lesotho. Here we cannot even make chisharo chebhasikoro. It is not good enough Mr. Speaker. Our children are still being taught how to apply for a job: ‘Dear Sir, I am applying for a vacancy,’ when our children should be taught ‘Mr. Bank Manager, I am a start up, I need USD5 000 to start a start up to make computers. We are far Mr. Speaker and it is not good enough. I thank you very much.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to add my voice to this report presented by Hon. Torerayi Moyo, seconded by Hon. Murambiwa Ofias. Apart from our procurement challenges, I would like to say there are some people within the distribution channel of sanitary wear who are not doing justice to the process therein. Mr. Speaker Sir, we all applauded the fact that we had introduced free sanitary wear in schools in this august House. We had a feeling that things were going to move smoothly but some people are sitting on the assignments. Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look at a situation whereby when we went around to check on the distribution and availability of sanitary wear in schools, most of the schools did not have sanitary wear. At this point in time, I want to applaud the DSI for Zaka which is in Masvingo, Mr. Chidzurira who actually had to go to the provincial office to collect the sanitary wear so that it could be distributed in his district. Otherwise, the district Zaka would have gone without sanitary wear when the sanitary wear is there at the PED’s office. I strongly believe that we may not achieve our mantra of living no one and no place behind if we are going to have people that keep having some mentality of some inertia of some sort in terms of our distribution in this case, of sanitary wear.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the construction of schools is quite an issue and in 2021, the Ministry was talking about a deficit of 20 000 schools that are needed in Zimbabwe. If we look at the rate at which we would like to have schools constructed with 35 schools to be constructed over five years, I think getting to 20 000 schools would be a miracle. So our Ministry and Government need to engage the parents in our communities and provide them with the resources so that they can help in construction of schools together with the private sector. Our parents are eager Mr. Speaker Sir, these days to have junior or infant schools being constructed in their communities because there is now the concept of ECD which was never there. ECD implies, we have to reduce the distances that our children travel at ECD level. At the moment a primary school would have a maximum of 5km but with ECD in, we hope it is going to be reduced and our parents are going to be excited to make sure that they have got schools close by. At the same time, a school which was visited, Mazungunye High School used to be one of my neighbouring schools. It is a Government school and the state we see now at Mazungunye Government School is far below what we are seeing in other council run schools. They were even lucky to have a resident person in that community who had to give them some accessibility to WiFi because they did not have it up to last year, 2021.
This school is one such school where we used to have teachers wanting to go there, headmasters wanting to be in charge of that school. Also, parents were proud of the school. It was a marvelous school during its time in the 1990s but now it is one of the schools that is in a very bad state of disrepair. This implies that our Government needs to look at its own schools as a responsible authority and make sure they are an example to other schools.
The issue of ICT, COVID-19, actually taught us that we need to understand disasters can come at any time. It was during this COVID-19 that we saw some vulnerable groups like learners with disabilities being at a greater disadvantage than most of the children because where other children used radios; where other children used computers, you would find those with disabilities could end up being at a greater disadvantage. I also want to propose that our Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education work closely with the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development so that it is made sure that in our school system, especially rural areas, we have got power so that we can learn using ICTs. They should also make sure we get connectivity because having computers with no connectivity is nothing.
When we get to Kasika Primary School, it was quite a nightmare to see Hon. Nyabani, the Member of Parliament in the area carrying teachers after the exercise; he had to carry teachers to a place very far away in his own car, where they can go and phone wherever they wanted to phone because at the school there is no network connection. They had to go for about 20 km away from the school, implying that when there is no connectivity; when there is no ICT, there is almost no learning, especially at the era we are now. We also find at Chakohwa, the computers were there but the children were just crowded at the computers, standing. You cannot believe there is proper learning when a child stands up for the whole lesson, 30/40 minutes, while trying to struggle and get some information from a computer. It also means the resources need to be improved.
There is also the issue of teacher presence. I look at it as a tripartite exercise, where we have got teachers that could be present and effectively teaching. We have others who were present but not teaching and others that were not there because no deployment had been made. So I would like to say, we saw fewer teachers who were at the schools doing effective teaching because some teachers are generally motivated to teach, whether there is good remuneration or not. It is just a calling to teach according to them.
The majority were there for the purpose just to be seen as being present. For example Mutonhori School in Zaka, when we get to Mutonhori, we were actually given a marvelous reception with children playing drummies and the school was so neat but when we delved into the discussions, one of the participants who happened to be the deputy headmaster said they were just encouraging teachers to teach there. Looking at the school, very nice but when you try to encourage teachers to teach, there is no teaching because teachers need to be self motivated; implying they have to be given the necessary tools of trades, including their own salaries which need to be improved. At least the Government is doing something by way of giving non-monetary incentives but the issue still continues and we hope with our listening President, we are going to see more and more being given to our teachers so that they can teach effectively.
I cannot round off my debate without talking about the issue of BEAM. Wherever we went, it was talked about and we see BEAM as one standing point where we can begin our free basic education. Now the situation is quite difficult for our teachers and the schools because where there is no money, schools cannot run; teachers are de-motivated. As we have already heard, some children were being sent away, even when they are on BEAM simply because the schools have to run. Our President, His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa has already pointed to the fact that there will be free basic education in 2023. We have to brace for it because the challenges that we have been having with BEAM, we need to have some standing points which will enable us to drive towards free basic education by 2023. I thank you
(v)HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this report which was moved by Hon. T. Moyo and seconded by Hon. Murambiwa. It is disheartening 44 years after independence having schools without electricity; schools which have not yet embraced ICT because there is no electricity and computers. This is why we have schools which get 0% pass rate at grade 7 because there are few teachers at certain schools. There is no infrastructure which teachers can use. There are no toilets; how do you expect teachers to stay at such schools? There is no electricity but we are blessed because we have got enough sun. I see it fit for Government to put solar systems in schools so that we can have enough electricity. Water is a crisis in schools including schools in urban areas.
In my constituency Luveve, they have drilled two boreholes to try and avert the crisis of water in schools and the community at large. They were doing irrigation in those areas so that they can earn money through the projects.
There is the issue of CALA in schools, which requires students to research. How can they research if they do not have electricity? That is why we have poor performance in rural schools because there is a certain percentage that is contributed from CALA before examinations are written by grade seven pupils. We are in a big crisis in terms of ICT connectivity. There is no electricity in those schools even though they should be provided with ICT equipment.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me touch on the issue of BEAM. BEAM funds are not being paid on time in schools. During the opening of schools in this third term, in my constituency Luveve and other constituencies in Bulawayo, the local authorities disconnected the supply of water to schools because they owe millions of dollars. For two weeks, there was no water in those schools but school children were at school and they need ablution facilities. The schools had to demand money from parents. There are also pupils on BEAM, which is not being paid on time. Other Hon. Members suggested that BEAM funds for the whole year should be released in January. Pupils get poor marks because they are being chased away for non-payment of fees. How can a child excel in such a situation; hence my request that the funds should be disbursed on time.
The road network is very bad. Teachers stay in houses that are in bad shape and they are demoralised. In my constituency, there is a school where teachers occupy a four roomed house that accommodates about 10 people. With this situation, how is a teacher supposed to be confident in class? Confidence would be lost because of the environment they are in. They will be teaching students who do not even have chairs to sit on. They will be using ICT equipment but they will be sitting on the floor in those classes. We are making a request to the Government to assist schools that are in rural areas so that they as well meet the standards of schools in urban areas.
In Matabeleland South where I come from, pupils are facing challenges. Some do not even have uniforms, food, there is no electricity and the classes are few. After completing Grade 7, these children go to South Africa because there is nothing that is motivating them. They see their parents who are in South Africa coming back driving luxurious cars. They want to follow that path and go to neighbouring countries.
The teachers who are in rural areas have challenges. May the schools be equipped with necessities so that the pupils excel in school. In rural areas, the parents are willing to donate bricks for the construction of classroom blocks. In my constituency, we are funding the construction of a clinic as the community. Government should intervene so that new schools can be constructed and people should donate bricks for the construction of schools. Mr. Speaker Sir, 44 years after independence, we should not be singing the same song for the schools to be constructed. We are still talking of schools which were constructed using pole and mud.
I would want to thank the Committee for visiting schools in Binga and Gokwe so that they verify facts on the ground. The Ministry of Finance should budget money towards the construction of schools and houses for teachers. There is a school in my constituency, in Cowdry Park where there are only two blocks. Some students are learning under the trees. We want these pupils to excel in schools and they should get adequate equipment. We also want the students to excel in CALA and they should be given adequate resources.
We have got enough resources in our country that we should use, but they are being used by other people who come from other countries, which is not good. We want to use our own resources.
I would like to thank this Committee which did a splendid job. I would like to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this time to add my voice. I want to thank Hon. Moyo who was seconded by Hon. Murambiwa for coming up with this magnificent report about the state of schools in some parts of our country. I marvel when I look at teachers that they are a dedicated lot, if you look at the conditions of service that some teachers go through.
I am going to take a very short space of time because most of the things have been said and to say them again would just be to buttress what other Members have said so that it carries weight. We have schools all over our constituencies where we come from and I come from one of probably the worst constituencies in the country, Makoni North and I have said in my constituency there is not even a centimeter of tarred road. It is all dust, out in the rural areas.
Be that as it may, I also have schools that are in the same condition like the schools that you saw when you went around, Dr. Moyo. The nature of classrooms that some children are learning in is squalid. The desks are worn out, some are tied by some wires, there are no learning aids. Some of the houses there are older than me. I have seen a house where my headmaster used to stay. It is still there and a teacher is staying there. I am over 50, so you would see the type of house that I am talking about and you will discover that it is quite old. The playgrounds are pasture land. People from the villages come and herd cattle around the school yard. There is no fence. I do not know if you came across such types of schools Hon. Dr. Moyo when you went around.
There are no fences around the schools. Those who come herding their cattle can just pass by between the classrooms, they peep through the windows, get into classrooms, tear off books, they tear off the very little number charts in the classrooms. There is no protection in some of those schools.
The roads to some schools are in a sorry state. I have one major road in my constituency, Makoni North where some schools are 20km from that main road and those small roads that go to the main schools were attended to donkey years ago. I do not know how many years. I was elected as MP when the roads were in that state. So I am saying there is a lot that we need to look at in schools in our area.
Electricity is zero in some schools, the toilets are worn out, ICT zero, sports uniforms for some schools in the area is a dream, teacher-pupil ratio is 1 to above 60 in all classrooms, the water situation in most of the schools is a nightmare. You cannot talk of water in schools. Some children come every morning carrying a litre plastic container with water, maybe to drink during break or to water a few flowers in front of the headmaster’s office.
Sanitary wear has come just but now and it is needed like yesterday. We need to have sanitary wear in our schools but looking at the way it is being treated, it is like it is a mammoth task. Some schools have heard about sanitary wear but have never received those sanitary pads in their schools. They have just heard about it; some schools have received. I think it is best for the girl child to have sanitary wear at schools so that in the event of a mess up, they can quickly be attended to by the lady teachers at the schools and can have smooth learning without being booed by other students at the school.
Let me just suggest a few ideas for our schools. The issue of BEAM has been spoken by every Hon. Member who stood up and I want to believe when it is going to be read by the powers that be, they should take immediate attention to make sure it is released to every school timeously. I want to implore the Government to bring back Government building grants which used to be there in schools then. When we went to schools in the 70s and 80s, it was a marvel to be at school. You would enjoy going to school even though we went bare footed but it was so nice. There was learning. You could tell when you got to a school that there was proper learning at a school. Now if you get to some schools these days, some pupils are playing in the play ground, some are chasing each other in the classroom, teachers are standing at a verandah discussing one or two issues - whether to buy a kettle or what, you do not even know. It means that the education system has deteriorated a lot from what it was before.
I want to think that schools can also lobby from NGOs if they can assist to purchase the sanitary wear for children at the school. Education 5.0 can also come up with provincial factories for sewing sanitary wear for the children. Let us use the research so that if we give them material, they can work and produce such things quite easily.
I hate to see children in my constituency - when I come from a town setting, some are playing hockey and I get to a school in my constituency the children are playing pada, some are playing nhodo, muchuti which has nothing to do with their tomorrow. Some are sitting on a computer and someone is playing hweshe in the play- ground. They are just kept around the school until the sun sets. Let us revamp our education system so that it becomes vibrant as before. I thank you.
(v)*HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity. I want to thank the Committee for the work that they have done. I also want to thank the Ministry of Education and the Public Service for what they have done. There are about 13 districts where they realised that there were not enough teachers which include UMP, Rushinga, Mbire and Gokwe North. There are about 13 districts and all the issues that have been raised concerning roads network and REA have caused that these districts do not get enough teachers. The Public Service, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, saw it fit that teachers should be deployed there.
I am saying all the issues that have been raised by the Hon. Members - that is the reason why those districts do not attract teachers. So I am appealing to the programme of REA that it should extend its services to those districts because teachers do not stay for long and they are transferred willynilly. Mr. Speaker, where I come from in UMP, we have a school called Rungani Primary school. It had about 96% pass rate in Grade 7. Children who come from those rural areas cannot attain 100%. We are saying what the Second Republic is engaged on, like what our President is doing, those schools in those districts, especially the ones that I have mentioned, if they can be resourced so that teachers do not transfer for development purposes.
The school that I have talked about Rungani Primary School, there is another school like that which attained zero percent because that area is arid and there is no water. There is no network and teachers do not stay there for long. The road network is very poor and the roads are not maintained. I am saying if we get those things, teachers will stay there and children will learn well.
The other thing I want to say Mr. Speaker Sir is, when the Committee was touring; I think the Government should construct boarding schools for primary and secondary because the primary school was able to attain 96%. What happens is that the issue of computers, many schools cannot operate them because of poor network.
The children are disadvantaged when they look for Form One places because they do not have network and they cannot get access to good schools. Some parents can afford to send their children to boarding schools but because of poor network they lag behind in submitting their applications as compared to parents in urban areas. I think the Ministry of Education should construct boarding schools in those areas. The road network, I think the Ministry of Finance should resource those areas so that roads and clinics could be constructed. The DDF should be given money so that we do not only wait for the Ministry of Transport to construct roads.
On the issue of boreholes, we want to thank the Second Republic, our President E. D. Mnangagwa for drilling boreholes. I was asking that when it comes to the drilling of boreholes, if we can get boreholes which are drilled up to 100 metres, you find that children in the primary schools cannot get access to that water because the distances are long and school children cannot get water from those boreholes. So we are just appealing if they can be solar powered so that they get water.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Second Republic, our President E. D. Mnangagwa for what he did in those 13 districts. The people who stay in those areas are very happy and the children are happy because of this opportunity which they have now, of accessing water and road network. These districts which are lagging behind, I think they should be well resourced and looked after. I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for according me this opportunity. Thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I just want to thank the Committee Chairperson and the Committee for the splendid job of bringing to light what is happening in our schools.
Mr. Speaker, the school conditions and situations must be looked at holistically and this is the only way we can solve this problem. To begin with Mr. Speaker, before we get to the issues of sanitary wear and other things, the teachers must be treated and paid well. It is important to do that because we expect teachers to apply themselves fully. So, because of the low salaries that they get, combined with the conditions of service, it becomes very difficult for a teacher to be motivated. When a teacher is not motivated, he or she will not pay attention especially to those children who may have challenges. Challenges come not entirely from the learner’s inability to grasp but because of other underlying issues like even the issue of sanitary wear.
Failure to obtain one when a child gets to the point where she needs those things really affects the child’s confidence. It attacks the core and dignity of that child. Imagine Mr. Speaker, a child is busy making a presentation in class, in front of the whole class, and nature calls. She finds herself at her period because she does not have sanitary wear, she messes herself up; that would deal a severe blow to the child’s confidence because from there onwards, she will not want to make a presentation, stand up in class or to participate in class. So, those are the things that we must look at. The teacher may not even understand why the child’s performance has gone down because he or she does not have reason to spend his or her time thinking about an individual child since he or she also has her own problems. So, dealing with this education conditions and situation holistically will help us to achieve what we want to achieve as a country.
Infrastructure must also be provided Mr. Speaker; accommodation for teachers. In this day and age, can we really say we are serious when we have one four roomed house accommodating five teachers? Whether they are single or not, where is their privacy? Mr. Speaker, when we do not have houses for teachers, how do we then expect to have classroom blocks? This is not only happening in the rural areas. I have my own schools in Kambuzuma. Last week but one, I went to Mutiunokura Primary School in Ward 36; I wanted to consult the school on their preferred books. Fortunately, I had 300 books for the five primary schools in my constituency because of CALA and the new curricular that require a lot of research schools now require a lot of books. So, I had gone there for those consultations.
I found learners outside with a board and the teacher teaching. The students were writing whilst kneeling on the ground, here in Harare; that is the situation that we have. The school needs not less than three classroom blocks. The number of learners there is 1 600, an average of 60 students per teacher; this ratio is terrible. Do you even expect the teacher to know the learners by name? It is impossible, or for a teacher to pay attention to individual learners. You know, where we used to be summoned by our teachers when we were still in school, that you, you and you see me in my office - nothing of the sort is happening nowadays, the teacher does not even care but even if he or she cares, how long does it take him or her to interact with 60 to 75 learners? It is impossible. So because of that Mr. Speaker, it makes education a nightmare.
The issue of adequate water, as we drill boreholes, why can we not make it a deliberate system where in a ward, a borehole is drilled at a school? The reason is very simple. You have more than 500 learners at one school, making it crystal clear that it must be a priority for the provision of water. Then we install solar boreholes for those learners because simply using the bush pump is a mammoth task. Sometimes the water table is very low and you expect a Grade One (1) or ECD child to pump water out of that deep borehole. Impossible Mr. Speaker; we are subjecting our children to very hard labour.
People may say, how do we fund that? By simply making our institutions just accountable, without raising any money from anywhere else but simply making them accountable and by simply dealing with corruption, we can fund those. Look at what has been coming out in hotels where Hon. Members’ nights in hotels is astronomical; if you calculate the hotel rates at bank rate, it is coming to USD400 to USD500.00 a night. You only need to save three times to drill a borehole and save three times to install solar at a school. So, it is important Mr. Speaker, that we look at that seriously. Sanitation is very important.
I had a situation where I got a partner who installed a solar system at one of our boreholes. We discussed and asked for one tank to be reserved for schools. We have three schools next to each other and we have water to those schools including a clinic and police station from one tank. This has alleviated the water problem where at a school we have 1 600 learners and 60 teachers. Even when council water does not come out, they can still use the borehole. These are some of the issues we can do.
Mr. Speaker, on the issue of electrification of rural schools, this is something that we must not even be debating about. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, should come to this House to table a programme for schools electrification. Why? This is because the curricular points to the fact that learners cannot go through their lessons and examinations without using technology; impossible because they need to research. Part of their examination marks come from the research they make through the use of technology and we expect the same children in the rural areas to compete with those in the urban areas where they have got access to their parent’s phones and electricity to get positions at the next secondary school. It can never happen but we expect them to do that even if you go as a parent, a grandfather, to a secondary school, they will tell you go and apply through the portals that are there. You ask a question, what are you talking about, what portal are you talking about in Murambinda there? There is nothing of that sort, so we are simply segregating our learners those in the urban areas and those in the rural areas but we still expect them to produce the same results, same exam, same time; one hour and at the end of the hour pens down, yet this one was still wondering what are you talking about. Come time for the results, we say that there was a zero pass rate and people ask the question why did that happen – how could it not have happened when the learning aids and everything was not available? The teacher was demoralised, rain season like this time around, those kids have got nowhere to run to because the roofs of some schools are still thatched roofs. A lot are leaking even those that have got corrugated material, that material has been lifted up and down by the wind several times.
So, Mr. Speaker, I want to implore the Government to respond to this report and say exactly what plans they have for once. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education must come to this House with a comprehensive report that will be responding to the issues the Hon. Members have been raising. This has been coming from all the Members of Parliament, not a single one has disputed the contents of the report. So, because of that, it makes it a very important debate that the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education must make it a priority at the end of the debate, which I think Hon. Moyo is going to close because I think all the facts have been laid bare.
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to say a few words in support of this very important motion. I am taking the motion into the context of the fourth industrial revolution that the whole world is now in and Zimbabwe is obviously no exception. Mr. Speaker Sir, the developments that we see in the world today obviously call for flexibility, innovation as we move on in our socio-economic transformation.
That in itself calls for us to produce a nation whose people go through an educational process that provide them with logic that they need to use in a very systematic manner in order to achieve their objectives. His Excellency, the President has enunciated the policy which we are all aiming at achieving, that is Vision 2030.
That can only be done if we take on board the serious suggestions made by this report but we even go back to 1999 when we received the Professor Caiphas Nziramasanga Report which speaks to the issues that we are raising today. I feel that today we do talk of the need for us to increase productivity. We are talking of the need for efficiency, the need for us to see our industries producing quality products. They must be quality in the process of production so that we can compete on the world market and that in itself means we need to take the issue of education seriously.
I would like to add my voice to all those who have supported this report in its totality and that we really need to make sure that when the Minister comes to respond, we come up with timelines for the implementation of the decisions that would have come out of this report. As we speak, we have found that countries like Namibia are now in strides in education on the basis of the professor Caiphas Nziramasanga Report and yet sometimes in our own country, we tend to take lightly the importance of implementing some of the ideas that are generated by our own nationals.
Therefore, I would like to commend the mover of the motion Hon. Moyo and the Committee for a job well done but what we need now is results. I thank you.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have received a Non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Health Services Amendment Bill [H.B, 8 2021].
HON. T. MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd November, 2022.
On the motion of HON. T. MOYO, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at a Minute to Six o’clock p.m.