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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 10 JUNE 2021 VOL 47 NO 59
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 10th June, 2021.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
PETITION RECEIVED FROM MR. MARKO SHOKO
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: I wish to advise the House that on 19th May, 2021, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from Mr. Marko Shoko beseeching Parliament to withhold the passing of the Constitutional Amendment, Number 2, Bill and revert to the stage where the amendment has not been introduced. The petition was deemed inadmissible as it was submitted after the National Assembly had passed the Bill and transmitted the same to the Senate.
Furthermore, the matter is also sub judice as there are two cases filed at the Constitutional Court, relating to the procedure in the passing of the Constitutional Amendment (No. 2) Bill. I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 9 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SAIZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CRISIS IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY
HON. MUSHORIWA: I move the motion in my name that this House,
COGNISANT that education is a basic right enshrined in
Zimbabwe’s Constitution and that the state has a duty to provide learners with resources and teaching facilities depending on the availability of resources;
NOTING, the unprecedented turbulence caused by the COVID-19
pandemic to the country’s public education system;
AWARE that the incapacitation of teachers due to poor
remuneration and conditions of service has worsened the state of the public education system;
CONCERNED that the disturbances in the education sector have
further widened the gap between the children of the rich and poor in Zimbabwe as the former access education while the latter do not have the same privileges;
SHOCKED that the Executive has not enacted policies to address
the plight of teachers thereby threatening the future of millions of learners.
NOW THEREFORE, recommends that the Portfolio Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; and Primary and Secondary Education jointly conduct:
- a)an inquiry to determine whether the ideological shift
by the Executive Arm of Government from centre left to centre right which favors the rich at the expense of the poor is desirable to Zimbabwe;
- b)public hearings to assess whether there has been no
dereliction of duty by the Ministers of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Primary and Secondary Education in the ongoing deterioration of the public education system in Zimbabwe; and
- c)an investigation into whether Members of the Executive
are not benefitting from the chaos in the public education system by luring students from failed public schools to their personal private colleges and schools which offer Cambridge examinations instead of the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC).
- d)To proffer recommendations to this House on measures
that need to be taken to address the crises in the public education system in the country.
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I second.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to start by saying that all of us who are in Parliament are a product of the education system that was there before. Do you recall that we used to be proud because we had the best education in the region? The education system that we had after independence, for some of us, we just went and did our primary school in the rural areas. A number of schools were built and a number of secondary schools were then built along the way. The then Government used to put a lot of resources towards system. Madam Speaker, you will then recall that the product that came from school was so good. Hence you find out that a number of countries whether you go to SADC, Europe or America, you will find quite a number of Zimbabweans who are actually occupying powerful positions in various institutions and companies. This is primarily because of the education system that was there. We had a very robust primary schooling and very good secondary schooling and extremely good tertiary education. If you take yesteryear and compare it with today, you then find out that something went wrong along the way. You will find out that our children that are going to school now things have fallen apart. Our teachers are no longer motivated. The situation that is prevailing in the country is so bad. If you look at any public school, you get a feeling that students are just going there primarily because there is no other way to go to. It is even worse for the children that come from poor backgrounds.
I represent Dzivaresekwa Madam Speaker and I can tell you that when you see those children going to school, you look at them and ask yourself what is their future going to be like because equally disturbing, is the state that you find the teacher that is going to teach that student. You look at the way they are dressed and moving and the state in which they are, everything around the education system is decaying. The worst part of it is that whilst all this is happening the people that are being affected the most are us the poor people yet the rich people are smiling.
During our time when we went to school, everybody was writing Cambridge and then after that, Government in its wisdom decided to come up with ZIMSEC. Every Zimbabwean was writing ZIMSEC, in fact ZIMSEC was actually very tough compared to Cambridge that people used to write. Every public school writes ZIMSEC but what we have discovered is that ….
Part of speech not recorded due to power outage.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I move that we stand over Order of the Day, Number 10 until internet has been restored.
HON. PETER MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 10 to 13 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 14 has been disposed of.
HON. PETER MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. SIKHALA: Madam Speaker, I can hear Hon Mushoriwa talking.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The network is down.
HON. SIKHALA: So he is shouting by himself.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We have electricity problems here. He is talking to himself. May someone communicate to him.
FIRST REPORT OF THE JOINT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ICT, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES AND PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ON PROVISION OF ONLINE CLASSES FOR LEARNERS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC PERIOD
HON. PETER MOYO: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Joint Portfolio Committee on ICT, Postal and Courier Services and Primary and Secondary Education on provisions of online classes for learners during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I second.
HON PETER MOYO:
The joint Portfolio Committees on ICT, Postal and Courier Services and Primary and Secondary Education resolved to conduct a joint enquiry on the provision of online classes to learners during periods of lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced governments and organisations worldwide to look for digital alternatives to the accustomed face-to-face interaction between teachers and learners to ensure continuity and safety in the learning environment during the pandemic.
- To appreciate measures put in place to ensure that learners in both rural and urban areas have access to classes during periods of lockdown;
- To assess the impact of such measures on the provision of online education in Zimbabwe; and
- To offer policy recommendations with a view to improve provision of education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Committees conducted oral evidence sessions with the following organisations;
- Mrs. T. Thabela, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education;
- Eng. K. Kundishora, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services;
- Dr Machengete, the Director General of Postal Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe;
- Mrs Mutasa, the Managing Director of TelOne.TelOne Zimbabwe;
- Mr Mushanawani, the Chief Executive Officer of NetOne; and
- Mr Makuni, the Chief Operating Officer of Econet Wireless.
4.0 Committee Findings
4.1 Presentation by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
In her presentation, Mrs. Thabela indicated that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had crafted short, medium and long-term strategies for the learners to access education during the lockdown period. The Ministry had adopted the use of online platforms such as open and distance learning, digital learning platforms, and the use of open education resources.
4.2 She informed the Committee that through the support of various partners such as UNESCO, World Vision, Higher life Foundation and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Ministry opened virtual learning platforms which includes;
- PROFUTURO Digital Education Programme supported by World Vision;
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) website;
- The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education online platforms that were supported by the United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); LEARNING PASSPORT and GIGA initiative connectivity of schools supported by UNICEF;
- LAN based platform for areas without connectivity; and
- Higher Life Foundation offered RUZIVO Platform; and Virtual library
4.3 In addition, the Permanent Secretary informed the Committees that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary had adopted the short-term measures to facilitate online learning and these include;
- Concessionary Econet data costs for learners
- CHATBOT: Dzidzo Pamuzi/ Imfundwe’ndlini/Paden
- Use of Whatsapp for learning -teachers using WhatsApp for teaching, mainly in urban schools.
Through partners such as UNICEF and Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), the Ministry provided devices:
- 3180 radios, memory sticks (UNICEF) and 20 000 MP3 players and memory cards, (CAMFED) Campaign for Female Education. Eighty (80) tablets to support poor learners in Mwenezi District (Plan International) recording all the information that is online to make it offline for rural learners to be able to access.
4.4 Furthermore, the following were identified as medium to long term measures being implemented to achieve online lessons;
- Radio lessons-2100 produced and aired to date the challenge is on bandwidth especially in border areas. However, the main challenge is the cost of airing those radio lessons;
- Real time mobile telephone lessons for early childhood development-VIAMO- World Vision and Via Mobile learning platform;
- Television lessons – 40 lessons were produced to date;
- Self-Study Guides, Workbooks and Modules;
- Development of Study Packs; and
- Champions of Champions for Community based learning Programme.
4.5 In providing online lessons, the Permanent Secretary stressed out that some learners did not benefit from the online services due to lack of connectivity and radio transmission. However, she mentioned that the platforms and radio lessons managed to meet the educational needs of more than three million learners, assisted some Grade 7 learners in attaining reasonable grades in 2020 and facilitated mobile learning through texts, visual and audio.
5.0 Presentation by the Ministry of ICT Postal and Courier Services and other stakeholders.
5.1 Dr. Eng. Kundishora, the Permanent Secretary indicated that the Ministry of ICT Postal and Courier Services had managed to mobilise Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other players in the telecommunications sector to develop digital platforms to enable learning to continue with classes in the wrath of the pandemic. The Ministry had produced the National E- Learning Strategy which was still under consideration by Cabinet at the time of the hearing.
5.2 Measures and Impact by Postal Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)
5.2.1 Dr. Machengete, the Director General of POTRAZ indicated that through the Universal Services Fund (USF), POTRAZ has been rolling out various e-learning projects to seven schools over the past years as a way of making ICT services universally accessible targeting under-serviced areas in the country. The programmes have proved to be very helpful in the face of the new demands being experienced in the education sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
5.3 List of Programmes being undertaken by the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services and its Parastatals.
Dr Machengete mentioned that from the year 2000 and 2010, there was the model (40-seater lab per school programme),
5.3.1 USF Project by POTRAZ
In March 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, 570 computers were distributed to 575 schools. The schools were also connected to the internet. A total of 60 rural schools benefited under the Connect a School Connect a Community Project where at each school, 80 students received laptops, 10 tutor laptops, students and tutor desks and chairs, two projectors and screens, power supplies and solar panels. ICT gadgets which included computers, printers, projectors and servers were also distributed under the E-Learning Project. Four thousand three hundred and thirty two (4332) computers were distributed to 404 schools. In addition, 17 printers and three projectors were also distributed.
5.3.2 1300 Schools Connectivity Project [ZARNet/POTRAZ].
Dr Eng K. Kundishora, the Permanent Secretary revealed that the scope of the project included the provision of functional websites equipped with a Learning Management System, (e-learning) materials, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, e-mail services and tele-education/video conferencing facilities. He further indicated that 800 schools have been connected to internet.
5.3.3 The Director General of POTRAZ, Dr Machengete cited that Community Information Centres have been established and operationalised to allow for increased access to computers and the internet for marginalised communities. The centres offer internet and other services such as printing, faxing and photocopying at subsidised rates. Students are also able to access e-leaning content and submit their work through online channels where necessary.
5.3.4 COVID-19 Initiatives
Dr Machengete mentioned that POTRAZ had planned to equip a total of one hundred and eighty (180) schools with either 20 laptops each and/or internet connectivity during the current year (2021). Procurement of both computers and deployment of connectivity for this project is underway. One hundred rural schools across the country have benefited in 2020.
5.3.5 Internet Connectivity
Fig 1. Summary of the schools connected and not connected to internet.
|Item||School Type||National Total||Connected to Internet||Not connected to
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Order!
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. First let me thank Hon. Moyo for the joint report and let me also thank in particular the ICT Committee who actually initiated this particular hearing. We, as the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, as you may know Madam Speaker, have been to this House numerous times particularly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and raised issues around our concern on the issue of the digital divide. Therefore it was proper that the Committees worked together so that they would also understand the problems that we were experiencing as the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education and they being our supporters.
I also would like to thank and I think Hon. Moyo referred to this, the stakeholders that came to the table. I think we did appreciate particularly having the stakeholders that were coming from the private sector who shared with us some of the problems associated with this issue of the digital divide.
Hon. Moyo has spoken to great lengths on the issue around how the issue of digital divide has created the differences between those that have and those that do not have and you know, Madam Speaker, that our SDGs speak to not leaving anyone behind, but I think what has happened in the education sector as a result of COVID-19 has actually created a situation where we are leaving a lot of our young people behind.
I just want to take this time, Madam Speaker, to buttress the recommendations that were put by Hon. Moyo on behalf of the two Committees. In particular I want to buttress the recommendation about the need for an indaba on the issue of digitalisation within the education sector. I say so, Madam Speaker, because the indaba would address a number of things. Firstly, it would highlight the problem that we are talking about, the challenges that we are facing right now in the country and globally and put at the centre how digitalisation has moved so fast that if we do not catch up, we are actually going to have our children not being part of the global community. Secondly, the indaba will address the issues around financing because fundamentally the problem that we are going to struggle with for a long time is how do we resource the education sector so that it can respond.
Madam Speaker, we are noticing a global trend right now where issues of aid are being cut down. I think if some of you were listening to the news yesterday, one of the conversations that were taking place in the British Parliament was where Members of Parliament were taking on the Prime Minister on the kind of development aid cut that has since happened and understandably because some of the countries within the global communities have also had to suffer an economic recession. So we are not only going to have places like UK cutting down on aid, but generally development aid is going to be very difficult to come by which means that ourselves as African countries would have to really dig deep and find where we can find resources to deal with issues around financing of the social sector but in particular the education sector. Madam Speaker, if we do not do this very seriously, we are going to have a lost generation where we literally are going to have particular classes and a few of the elite being educated and the rest of our children not being educated.
If you look at the numbers and population, we know that 60% of our population is actually in the rural communities. So when we say the digital divide, we are actually saying there will be a part of our children in one part of the country who are going to be left out of the education sector. So it is important that this indaba takes place and some of us have been actually proposing that the indaba should actually be held at the highest level where the Presidency is invited so that they actually put this as a priority in the issues. I know that within NDSI we do have the issue of the education sector but it would be good at least at that highest level to have this particular indaba.
The indaba would also bring to the table the private sector. I think it is important that the private sector, particularly the banks because we know that if there is a sector that has posted at least some benefits and positive benefits for such in foreign currency, it has been the banks. So it is important to bring the banks on board, it is important to bring the mining community on board so that we can begin to look at the kind of resource mobilisation that we need to do so that the sector can operate.
Most importantly and we have raised this with the Ministry of Education and I think Hon. Moyo has also raised it; we are finding that because those that are in private schools are able to do this, we need to start charging ourselves as Government because it is a service they are using so if the private sector is wanting to create an e-learning module for example, they have to use the module on the basis of the curricula that we as Government has set up. So we need to make sure that the charge for that curricula just like we charge for everything else. When you go to a private hospital, you are charged and we as Government also get a certain amount of money from what is being charged at private hospitals. But we are not doing the same around e-learning and these are conversations that we need to start having so that we can make a bit of money from our local issues.
Hon. Moyo spoke about the issue of internationalisation of this conversation, in particular regionalising. One of the things that we have done in Africa and have not noticed is that we have looked at COVID-19 purely from a health perspective, which is why globally, we now have Covax, which is looking at issues of vaccines. We are forgetting that the majority in terms of our own demography in Africa are young people. For Europe, it works to prioritise issues of vaccinations but for Africa, yes vaccination is important but issues of education and the social sector are more important because we have a difference between ourselves and Europe. This is because Europe has more of the older people and Africa has more of the younger people. So we need to say to ourselves within the context of COVID-19, what should we be putting resources on. So, instead of having a global community that is just looking at a Covax problem, we should be looking at a global community that is looking at how we can resource supporting the social sector, in particular, the education sector.
The other issue that was raised was the issue and this is one of my favourite subjects. If we deal with the issue of digitalisation Madam Speaker, we may actually be able to address this increasing phenomena that we saw with COVID-19 where a number of our girls got pregnant during the lockdown. We have had in this House, people that have issues with these kids coming back into school and the kids themselves being comfortable about going back into school. If e-learning is expanded and is given to circumstances where you are giving the pregnant girls an opportunity to learn while they are at home and they just come into school to write their exams, you are also dealing with the issues of stigma. So, the issue around e-learning and digitalisation Madam Speaker, is crucial and important.
As far as our recommendations are concerned, we really want us to highlight the issue that Government needs to deal very urgently with the issue around e-learning and understand that without e-learning, we will not have moved anywhere. We are hoping that when we do this regional meeting, we should be able to address it. One of our own people is the one who is the AU Ambassador around issues of COVID-19, Mr. Strive Masiiwa and I think as a country, we need to take the opportunity of engaging with our own people who are now at positions where they are able to mobilise resources and say how do we get resources that are enough for us to finance the issue around COVID-19 and digitalisation.
Let me thank you very much Madam Speaker for giving us this opportunity and because this report is critical, we are hoping that both the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Minister of ICT will come and respond to some of the recommendations that we have given so that next time we are able to move more seriously and respond to this crisis that we have as a nation. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I also want to add my voice to this very important report by Hon. Moyo and seconded by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want to start by saying, there is no one period in this country when people talked about ICT more than the period we got into COVID-19. That is when people felt there was need and we were actually being left behind. That is when we started realising there was no connectivity in terms of what was supposed to be done by ICT.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, if you look at this issue of ICT, normally in rural areas, they quickly want to think about base stations so that there is electricity which they can use in terms of ICT. We discovered that we are missing a very important sector; the Ministry of Energy and Power Development which was supposed to be with us. Normally in our rural areas, we have a number of challenges when it comes to provision of electricity and hence digitalisation in a number of our schools. A lot of places in our rural areas do not have base stations. Those that have base stations face other challenges, especially during the rainy season. We have transformers being destroyed by lightning and even the poles themselves falling when we have a lot of rain.
I think this Ministry needs to be capacitated because in most cases Madam Speaker Ma’am, there will be delays in coming back to repair these gadgets. In some cases, we have seen people being electrocuted. I remember in my constituency, we lost two children due to electrocution, whereby they were caught up when the lines were dangling across a path. So, this area needs to be attended to because it is the commonest source of energy for our digitalisation to take place in the schools.
We also observed during the workshop that the disabled persons were also at a loss because there were no gadgets available for them, especially when they were most needed during COVID lockdown. Also, you find they have not been given enough access to get this facility. Even where you find we had computers in schools, during COVID they could not travel there and some of them had problems of getting to those schools because of the paths and roads they had to navigate.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, can you be connected.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I think I am now connected. We also noted there was a challenge of the costs of data bundles for our learners who are supposed to benefit through ICT. Even the gadgets themselves are so scarce and expensive to most of them. If you also look at the teachers that we have in the schools, a number of our teachers need to go back and do some refresher courses or to be retrained so that they could actually assist in this digitalisation process. It is not easy for a teacher to teach what he or she does not understand because that will also go down to what the children are going to get.
We also discovered that there was a lot of collusion here and there where you find some of the schools that were provided with gadgets were not later visited and some of the gadgets were lying idle. In one case, it was important that the school was given gadgets by our development partners but they had no source of power and the gadgets just remained there. This prompted us, as one of our recommendations to say, we were going to visit and we are going to do that; to visit some schools and we picked two schools per province so that we see those schools that were assisted and make sure that they are making use of the gadgets because the statistics we were given showed that the number of our development partners are doing very good work in the schools but also good to check whether there is implementation. Although we realised more of the need to have digitalisation when COVID-19 struck us, it was also observed that we are no longer going back because we have started on this and that must be our path towards improving the education of our children. Even our societies in future it has to be digitalised completely because that is where we are going. We should see digitalisation getting more in schools and industries only, even in our homes that should be the culture. We have children who are now being born during this digitalisation era. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I am pleased with the motion that was raised by Hon. Moyo seconded by Hon. Misihairabwi. I think this is a good motion but I would like to bring another issue. Firstly, I heard her talking about the Indaba. I am happy with that but my request is, there is a statement that says nothing for us without us. So I think that as we are discussing these issues, we should look at the results of grade seven pupils for 2020. Children were not subjected to adequate learning and they do not have facilities to engage in online learning. Nothing much in terms of learning was done except the fact that it resulted in a number of pregnancies.
I was deeply disturbed by the grade seven results. Those in the rural areas were affected a lot. So, what I think Government should do is to work as a united force, together with the private sector. If you look at NetOne, it is a parastatal. It should be financed so that they install base stations in rural areas for them to access internet in those remote areas. I also request that more funds should be availed towards the E-learning programme, with particular concern to those in farms and resettlements. If those schools are well equipped with big generators, rural areas pupils will benefit a lot.
On the issue of teachers, my request is that teachers should go through psychometric tests to ensure that they are dedicated to their work. For example, people who joined the nursing profession due to passion and commitment, you can tell by how they handle patients. Those who joined the nursing profession due to failure to get what they wanted; you can see them leaving patients in agony. They can actually say I am not paid to do that, but those who are committed and have the people at heart will always try, using limited resources to assist patients. So, when it comes to teacher training, there is need for psychometric test to assess the level of commitment.
In rural areas, most of these teachers are found at townships, drinking beer during learning times. I am supporting the fact that these two Ministries as well as the Energy sector should be availed more funds to ensure that learning takes place. I thank you
(v)*HON. GANDAWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to the report presented by Hon Moyo and seconded by Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga. I have a few issues that I wish to give emphasis on, in support of this report. In the research that we did as the ICT Committee, my concern is on the issue of rural areas which are lagging behind. Rural schools are experiencing challenges in terms of network. We found that a lot of schools have received computers as donations, either from Government or from the private sector or well-wishers. But we discovered that those donations are benefiting mostly the urban schools because the network is good and also the availability of electricity.
Our rural pupils remain disadvantaged in terms of computers and gadgets. We also discovered that in schools where computers have been donated, most of them are lying idle because the teachers lack the capacity to teach ICT. This presents a challenge in Zimbabwe, where learning is now done using ICT in this COVID-19 era. Request is made to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education that refresher courses be held for teachers in order to enable full utilisation of these donated computers in teaching pupils.
There is also support from UNDP in the form of radios with pre-recorded lessons or programmes. I believe a number of schools have received these radios. These radios seem to be benefiting the already privileged schools yet those in rural areas are left out. We are yet to see these radios in our rural schools where there is a big number of pupils who require them. I can give examples of two schools in my constituency, Dete and Mupuse, which are in very remote areas. My request to the Minister is to consider giving preference to these schools in remote and disadvantaged areas in terms of network, when distributing these radios with pre-recorded programmes to enable our children to access education as well in this COVID-19 era. Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
(v)*HON. NYOKANHETE: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion which was raised by Hon. Moyo and seconded by Hon. Misihairabwi. We also notice that in rural areas we have a shortage of teachers yet we have trained teachers who are not employed and can be utilised to go and assist those. Our request is that the Government should intervene in terms of installation of basestations that will enable them to get network. POTRAZ should be supported in this regard so that people are connected.
Annually we are requesting for more funds to be allocated to the Ministry of ICT because that is the Ministry that needs to see that computers are availed in different areas. Every year, the Ministry of ICT is allocated a meagre budget, yet they play a pivotal role in the development of the country. Urban schools have computers but those rural schools do not even have electricity and they do not have computers.
We have a school such as the one that I have mentioned, there is no electricity and there are no resources at all. In rural areas, the situation is worse. In these schools, children do not know how a computer looks like. It is drawn on the chalkboard by the teacher. Even the teacher himself/herself does not know the computer, he/she actually draws the computer based on the textbook. So, for the development of the nation, let us look into the issue of development and also look at the issue of computers and adequate resources to ensure that efficient learning takes places.
What is very important is that the gadgets such as computers should have tax exemptions for schools who will be purchasing computer consumables and computers themselves to enhance the use of computers. As Members of Parliament, there was a time when we were getting computers using CDF funds. As a Member of Parliament, if I want to procure computers for schools, we are expected to satisfy certain requirements and it is a cumbersome process. I think we need to lessen the cumbersome nature of the process as we procure computers for the schools. We are responsible adults and we know the specifications but the issue of referring these to tender boards to go and deliberate on delays the process. What eventually happens is that we end up concentrating on building classrooms and yet there are more important issues such as procurement of computers. I thank you.
*(v)HON DUTIRO: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate raised by Hon Moyo and seconded by Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga as we debate on ICT. Our phones…
Part of speech not recorded due to technical fault.
+HON CHASI: I want to thank the Hon Member who presented this report that we are discussing right now. I also want to thank the good work that Government is doing especially installing computers in rural areas. However, I realise that there are some challenges when we are considering the results from the previous year. We are told that there were online lessons but these lessons were not there in rural areas. It was only in urban areas. In the rural areas, there was nothing called online lessons? That is the reason why we find that most students in the rural areas performed badly. According to me, I will not say learners failed because they did not learn. Therefore Government should give good allocation because kids are not learning. It is very important that when a school is given computers, it is also important that they have the internet. Most rural schools do not use those computers because they do not internet connectivity.
My appeal is that Government should try to give many computers to rural schools and that they be given access to internet. Also teachers should be capacitated on how to use these computers. We can say we gave computers to rural schools but because there is no internet, it is of no use. Mr. Speaker, we have not started. As there is no e-learning, there is nothing that is being done at schools, especially the rural schoold until we put internet and computers. We have been in the rural areas, areas near Kariba and so on do not have connectivity and those parents cannot afford to buy bundles.
(v) HON. MAFUTA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate on the motion raised by Hon. P. Moyo and his seconder Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. I am disheartened by the issue of e-communication, the situation is worse in rural areas. In rural areas there is no network, they do not have wi-fi at all. In our area, pupils do not have access to e-learning. People in rural areas are not learning whilst those in urban areas have access to these gadgets, so Government should ensure that boosters are installed by the mobile players.
(v) HON. V. H. MGUNI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Members for the motion about the education system. I want to say there are still areas where this technology cannot be used because these areas are using networks from Botswana. So, this method is disturbing learners. Pupils cannot access internet at all. I can give an example of e-learning - when the Ministry of Health advertised, people failed to apply because there is no Net-One booster, so people fail to apply to go for nursing training. I also want to request that the Government should try to restore network services such as NetOne and Telecel to the affected areas so that learners in the area can be assisted and catch up with other learners in this whole nation. We all know that educating children is educating a nation. Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this time.
*(v) HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Moyo seconded by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Education is very important and the pass rate of schools should not go down.
I went to Gwanda and saw companies that were manufacturing cellphones with prices that were affordable, that everyone could buy. Cellphone, and also the laptops are expensive. Can we say such companies should not pay taxes so that these phones and laptops can be affordable to all learners in every area? So my request, Hon. Speaker, is that can we have companies in areas that we come from who are selling these gadgets at an affordable price.
My second request, Hon. Speaker is, can we have a discussion with different stakeholders because these bundles are very expensive. If you use these search engines, data does not last for more than 10 minutes. Someone who is in the rural areas cannot afford to buy that data at that exorbitant price. So I am appealing that there should be a discussion over that so that the data bundles are reduced and be affordable to everyone so that they do not affect the learners.
I only say these two requests because most things have been said. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*(v) HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add a few words concerning the motion that has been brought forward about ICT in the schools.
I want to thank Parliament which has made it possible for us to use virtual. Learners are learning using phones. In our rural areas, there are a lot of challenges because there are laptops and computers that were bought long back by Members of Parliaments and other stakeholders but learners are failing to use those gadgets because there is no power. Electrical transformers have grown old and they have not been replaced. So these rural learners are far behind when compared to their colleagues in towns. Learners are only relying on teachers and some of these teachers are not coming to school. So we find that these learners are having a great challenge.
I am appealing that can we make use of these laptops and computers that are in schools by resuscitating the power system. Parents are so concerned because they are hearing that children are now using phones yet they cannot afford even airtime, what more of the bundles. These learners are far left behind. That is what I wanted to say Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 15th June, 2021.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 15 to 45 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 46 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE AND TOURISM ON THE ALLEGED EMISSIONS OF POLLUTANTS BY STEEL BRANDS (PVT) LTD
Forty Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism on Steel Brands (PVT) LTD.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. M. NDLOVU): Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to begin my presentation by acknowledging and appreciating the detailed and objective report that was produced by the Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism on the alleged air pollution from Steel Brands (Pvt) Ltd, located in Houghton Park, Harare. The report was presented in the National Assembly in March, 2021. I took note of the objectives of the inquiry, methodology, the Committee’s findings during oral and documentary evidence, as well as their findings during the visit. The analysis of the key issues presented on paragraph 5.0 of the report aptly synthesized and summarized the whole matter, leading to the logical recommendations presented. Mr. Speaker Sir, having said that, I wish to give the current status as well as additional information before giving a comment on the recommendations by the Committee as follows:
Compliance Status at Steel Brands as at 10 June 2021
The Company has made significant technological interventions using Best Available Technology (BAT) to abate air pollution in response to the Environmental Impact Assessment certificate conditions as well as public interest demands and pressure, (see annexures attached). Mr. Speaker Sir, the company completed the following interventions in order to mitigate against emissions: -
- Installation of fume hoods to capture fugitive emissions and channel them through the main stack;
- Installation of grit arrestor, water bath and cyclone to capture particulates;
- Installation of a continuous casting system offsetting the need for the use of coal resulting in less particulate emissions; and
- Screening of poor-quality scrap metal with paint to prevent emissions.
Interventions that have recently been implemented include the
installation of a wet scrubber for the capturing of particulate emissions and waste gases, further strengthening and complementing works already completed. The scrubber is scheduled to be commissioned by the 19th of June, 2021.
Currently, the Company has two (2) emission licenses for generator emissions and induction furnace. Both emission points are in the blue class which has a low level of risk in terms of SI 72/2009 as a result of the stated interventions.
All process effluent, including cooling water, is recycled back into the system via a closed and paved system.
A multi-stakeholder team encompassing representatives from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Environmental Management Agency (EMA), National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and the City of Harare met on 16th April, 2021 to discuss the compliance status of steel brands. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am happy to note from the findings of the team that the company has regularised their operations.
Comment on the recommendations by the Committee
Recommendation 6.1 is fundamental and well noted. The principles to amend the Environmental Management Act, Chapter 20:27 with a view to align it with the Constitution and inclusion of emerging environmental issues are at an advanced stage. Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministry is geared to meet the deadline of 31st December, 2021 to amend the Act subject to support by the Hon. Members.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to comment on recommendation 6.2 and 6.3 at the same time as they seem to speak to each other. Recommendation 6.2 is on the relocation of the plant from the current site to a heavy industrial zone while recommendation 6.3 is on settling up an independent technical investigation team to come up with a detailed report that should contain recommendations on the relocation of the plant and submit a report by 31st December, 2021. Mr. Speaker, I wholly concur with the recommendation by the Committee as that would bring out transparency and public acceptance on the final decision. My Ministry would set up a multi-skilled technical team and draw-up terms of reference for them. The deadline for the 31st December, 2021 is agreeable, given the need to monitor and take samples for the plant at different times of the year so as to produce scientifically justifiable results.
There is also a need to continuously capacitate EMA to acquire various environmental monitoring technologies such as Ambient Air Monitoring technology so that such projects are easy to monitor and report on real time. My Ministry would continue to lobby for funding from the fiscus to ensure this capacitation as it is crucial for the nation as we seek to ensure a clean, safe and healthy environment in terms of Section 73 of the Constitution. I thank you.
HON. MUSARURWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for his response. I would also like to thank all Hon. Members who contributed to this report. May I be allowed to move that the House adopts the report of the Committee, Hon. Speaker Sir.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I move that we revert to Order Number 10 on today’s Order Paper.
HON. MUSARURWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CRISIS IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I move the motion standing in my name;
That this House,
COGNISANT that education is a basic right enshrined in Zimbabwe’s Constitution and that the state has a duty to provide learners with resources and teaching facilities depending on the availability of resources;
NOTING, the unprecedented turbulence caused by the Covid 19 pandemic to the country’s public education system;
AWARE that the incapacitation of teachers due to poor remuneration and conditions of service has worsened the state of the public education system;
CONCERNED that the disturbances in the education sector have further widened the gap between the children of the rich and poor in Zimbabwe as the former access education while the latter do not have the same privileges;
SHOCKED that the Executive has not enacted policies to address the plight of teachers thereby threatening the future of millions of learners.
NOW THEREFORE, recommends that the Portfolio Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; and Primary and Secondary Education jointly conduct:
- a)An inquiry to determine whether the ideological shift by the Executive arm of Government from centre left to centre right which favors the rich at the expense of the poor is desirable to Zimbabwe;
- b) Public hearings to assess whether there has been no dereliction of duty by the Ministers of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Primary and Secondary Education in the ongoing deterioration of the public education system in Zimbabwe; and
- c) An investigation into whether Members of the Executive are not benefitting from the chaos in the public education system by luring students from failed public schools to their personal private colleges and schools which offer Cambridge examinations instead of the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC).
- d)To proffer recommendations to this House on measures that need to be taken to address the crises in the public education system in the country.
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I second.
(v) HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just wanted to start this motion by simply restating the obvious things that many Members of this august House are aware of. First and foremost, every Member in this House is a product of a good educational standard that we went through. You recall that after 1980, the Government led by the then Prime Minister, Robert Gabriel Mugabe who was an educationist himself, invested hugely into the education sector. Consequently, some of us benefited hugely from this new trajectory that the independent Zimbabwe had brought.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in the early years of the 1980s, most people were staying in the rural areas. There were very few primary and secondary schools, but the Government moved in to build additional primary and secondary schools. I recall, the school I went for my primary school up to grade seven, during that time we were doing two subjects. I came up with three units. I was not the highest, there were some with two units and there were quite a number of kids at that school who had less than 10 units. I also remember that at secondary school, there was one student who came out with 6 A’s at ordinary level in a rural set up.
If you then compare the education we had during that time and the education that we have now, you just wonder what went wrong. Those people who were learning in towns, there was little difference with some of us who were in the rural areas. Today, you just do not know whether this is Zimbabwe or something terribly went wrong. Mr. Speaker Sir, when there is a problem in the manner that we have in this country, we need to introspect. We then actually wonder what actually went wrong. Right now in the rural areas, in other school you find not even a student who has passed. In other cases, you find two or three passes and even in the urban set up, you find schools with 40% pass rate. What has happened Mr. Speaker Sir?
As politicians, we owe it to those people who sent us to Parliament and people that sent us to Government. I have tried to look into the standard of education that we have – look at even the state of a teacher today, compared to the teacher in 1980. My father was a teacher and during that time, you could actually move with pride to be a teacher’s son. Mr. Speaker, you may need to be aware that in Shona there was a saying “kudada somukadzi wa teacher” This was because of the standards that have been set up that were so good that teachers were highly regarded in society. It is totally the opposite today. If you see a teacher today and try to compare with the teachers that were there then, I actually do not understand what could have happened.
Today the teacher that you see, whether it is an urban set up in Dzivaresekwa or it is a rural area in Mt Darwin or Chikomba, anywhere, it is pathetic. Now the question that comes to mind is, how could things fall apart when we have got people that are supposed to be running educational institutions. We have people that are supposed to superintend the education sector; people that are being paid to ensure that our students get a good future. The future belongs to these kids whose lives we are actually destroying.
When we went to school, some of us wrote Cambridge examinations but there is a time when the Government then introduced ZIMSEC. All other schools including private schools went on and appreciated ZEMSEC. Everybody was happy to write ZIMSEC but then the train went off the rail. This is the gist of my motion. Who has been sleeping on duty? Why are we where we are today? First and foremost, let me state, like I have indicated that politicians are given the mandate by the people and I have here a copy of the Manifesto of the Ruling Party ZANU PF, that they presented to the people in 2018 as it speaks to the education system. I have got a copy on the NDS 1, in terms of what this Government said about the education system.
If you read these documents, it portrays a Government of roses. It portrays a Government that is caring; a Government that wants to see the future of our children being prioritised. Alas! The opposite is true. What has happened is that this Government has failed and continues to fail our people. Accordingly, in my view, we need to then pin-point and say who in this Government is failing our future? Who is selling a dummy to our kids? Rights now if you come to Dzivaresekwa; you will realise one thing which is so disturbing, most children who come from poor backgrounds have nowhere to go to. They have to write ZIMSEC examination, they have to attend public schools, they have to go to schools where teachers are not teaching. During our trade union days we used to say that if you pretend to look after your worker, the worker will also pretend to be working. This is the truth. There is little that is happening within the public schools but instead we have seen a trend that is disturbing. The kids that come from rich families and those that are politically connected, those that stitch a do here and a do there are the ones that are benefiting because now we have seen a movement from the public schools to private schools. The worst part of it is that most of the private schools are writing Cambridge examinations and who are the owners of these private schools? We have seen a trend where politicians are now investing in education, building colleges and private schools. They are failing to do their jobof maintaining the education system within the public sector. They are building several schools and colleges and poor people are languishing and remaining in poverty without teachers. The rich ones go to private schools.
There was a combined report of the two Portfolio Committees, one on ICT and the other one on education. Every Hon Member in this august House was bemoaning the issue of e-learning. Every Hon Member is bemoaning the state of the education system in their constituencies. It is even worse when you look at the issue of rural areas. Things have fallen apart. This is where I come in and say how is this possible when you have got a Minister of Finance who for the past three years has been telling us that this Government is declaring a surplus. This Minister can stubbornly stand up and say I am doing well in terms of the fiscus of this country, everything is moving in the right direction. How can you have a surplus when you are failing to pay the teachers? How can you have a surplus when the students do not have access to e-learning. How can you stand up and beat your chest and say we are in the right direction.
How do you have a Minister of Public Service who goes to work on a day to day basis and claim that he is doing the work which he is mandated to by the Constitution when you know that the public sector is not being paid adequately, when you know nothing is happening and you pretend as if something is happening? How do you have a full Minister of Education and a deputy for that matter, who are supposed to superintend over the education system sitting and pretending as if everything is good?
If you check Mr. Speaker Sir, half of the motions that have been moved in this House point to the question of the education sector. The only issue that is there in some of these motions is that people and Hon Members have been nice and polite enough because they do not want to point a finger to say these are the people that are taking us backwards. Who are the people? It is the Minister of Public Service, it is the Minister of Finance, it is the Minister of Education. In other countries, when you are faced with this level of failure, people do tender their resignations. The mere fact that these Ministers have not done that, they see things as normal, it tells you that they do not care. They have normalised the abnormal. This is not good for us. This is the reason I am asking this august House to support the motion in calling for the relevant Portfolio Committee to investigate and enquire whether the centre right position taken by Government is good for this country.
The Government of Robert Mugabe in the early 80s was centre left, it wanted to take everyone on board but the Government of today is centre right. It simply says only the few should benefit at the expense of the majority. We need the Portfolio Committee to investigate. Do we not have Members in the Executive who are benefiting from this crisis, people that have actually invested a lot of money in the education sector, making sure that their schools and colleges are doing Cambridge rather than ZIMSEC? The question is, if those people are there how do you then have a person in the education sector, you then give that person power to superintend, you then come to a conclusion that some of the failure that we have in the education sector is because of conflict of interest. This is the reason why we need the Portfolio Committee on Education to relook and analyse that is there no neglect of duty by the Minister of Public Service. Is there no neglect of duty by the Minister of Education, is there no neglect of duty by the Minister of Finance?
I have listened to Hon Members from ZANU PF in this august House who have interest of their constituencies when they passionately debate and discuss issues pertaining to the education system but we cannot have all these people being outdone by a few people that are being paid to do the work that they are not doing. My view is that we need an investigation to look into it.
The damaging part of this problem that we face is - have you ever asked yourself what ten years from now would be like? Do you know that these children, whose education was destroyed from 2008 when hyperinflation started, have you ever asked yourself what the future of this country holds? More often than not, we praise ourselves and we salute people that went and fought for this country to attain freedom but freedom is not yet enough unless we can bequeath that freedom to future generations. If we fail to make sure that these children benefit from this Zimbabwe. My fear is that most of our kids will not benefit because we will have the other people come in and loot like the Chinese. Our children will not understand what is going on because their future is bleak. This is the issue that I am raising that we can afford at this juncture to put our heads in the sand and pretend as if nothing is happening. Something wrong is happening in Zimbabwe. The future of our children is being destroyed whilst we are there. As Hon Members of this august House, I pray that you allow the Portfolio Committee to go in there and question the stance that this Government has taken to move from the centre left to centre right is problematic. The question that was asked when this report was being tabled is, why are we simply talking of e-learning when most schools do not have access to it.
Mr. Speaker, recently we were being told that about 70% of people live in rural areas. So it is disturbing to learn that 70% do not have access to ICT. In rural areas they do not have teachers and they do not have ICT. I know of a school in Rushinga, it has only two qualified teachers. How do you expect such a kid to inherit the Zimbabwe which Comrades Joshua Nkomo and Tongogara died for? How do you expect that person to survive and build a future in a country where Hon. Chinotimba went to war for?
Mr. Speaker, we need the future of our kids. My only prayer is to simply say, Hon. Members, the future of Zimbabwe lies in our kids and we are destroying that future if we do not bring these people to account. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to say that the right to education especially basic education is the right that we as Parliamentarians and the people of Zimbabwe should fully respect. If you are not educated, you are a disadvantaged person and the opportunities in life that normally are available to every citizen do not normally come to you. As such, I rise to second the motion by Hon. Mushoriwa in the sense that I strongly believe that it is the duty of this Parliament and indeed every citizen of Zimbabwe to ensure that the right to education should not just be a pipedream but it should be a right that benefits everyone in this country.
Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of Zimbabweans who believe that they are a very educated nation but the truth is that the gains that we saw in education in the 1980s and an extent in the 1990s, we have been losing them in the last 20 years. Since the new millennium, Zimbabwe has actually lost those gains. The right to education is no longer easily accessible to the majority of people in this country. To that end, this motion by Hon. Mushoriwa is very welcome.
This is not the time to do finger pointing. This is the time to take a sober reflection and say where we are is not where we are supposed to be. What can we do as the people of Zimbabwe to make sure that we move forward as a country so that the reputation that we have that Zimbabweans are educated people does not get lost along the way. If you were born in Zimbabwe after the year 2000, you are at a disadvantage especially those who were born after the year 2010, more so those who were born in rural parts of Zimbabwe. They are at a very big disadvantage because we have lost a lot of teachers. We have suffered a serious brain drain as a country. If you go to South Africa today, and other countries today you will see a lot of our teachers there. You will see teachers who are supposed to be teaching in Lupane, Gweru and so forth, they are in Johannesburg at the moment. They are not even teaching there. They are doing anything else, some are waiters and some are just doing general jobs while back here in Zimbabwe, if you look at the student to teacher ratio, especially in rural areas, you will cry.
As a nation, let us take off the political party gowns that we have. Let us stop pointing fingers at each other and let us say something urgently needs to be done. Being a teacher in the 1980s was such a big source of pride and being a civil servant was such a big source of pride. When you look at the terms and conditions for civil servants and Members of Parliament of this country, it leaves a lot to be desired. As Parliament of Zimbabwe, let us not take this matter lightly. Let us remove our political party caps and go deeper.
Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there is an announcement by the Minister of Finance that we have a surplus, I think it is about ten billion and I want us as Parliament of Zimbabwe to understand the mathematical logic especially from a budgetary point of view. How do we have a surplus of 10 billion in this country? What does it mean practically when you know that you have lost many teachers, skills, civil servants, they have left the public education system. The few that are still teachers are now in the private sector but the majority are doing anything else except teaching. How is it possible for us as a country to have surplus budget when the terms and conditions of employment for teachers and indeed all other civil servants are at such a deplorable state? As the people of Zimbabwe, we must take a clear position to say enough is enough. We need something to happen that will make sure that a civil servant in this country has got dignity.
Mr. Speaker there is not even one person in Parliament who can honestly stand up and say they are happy whether from ZANU PF or from the Opposition with the terms and conditions of employment. Let us do something to make sure that something dramatic happens so that we do not continue to lose our civil servants, including our teachers because it affects the quality of service delivery. It affects the quality of administrative service for this country and it also affects the quality of education that we have in this country. As, I speak to you, there is a fight against corruption. How do you win the fight against corruption when your own civil servants are some of the most underpaid people in the world? How do you win this fight against corruption when you look at the salaries of civil servants, of the police officers - how do you expect them not to be corrupt? It is not fair. So as Parliament, I want to challenge us to go beyond the political party divide. This is about the future of Zimbabwe. We need our civil servants to have their dignity restored and the terms and conditions of employment, there is need for a dramatic shift upward for every civil servant in this country; for every teacher or educator in this country, they need to have a different kind of service of terms and conditions because what we see today, the moment you are a civil servant, the moment you are a teacher you are automatically poor. You are not even able to live from month to month. You live from hand to mouth and it is really unacceptable.
So I challenge us as legislatures to go deeper on this matter. I know that Hon. Mushoriwa has suggested that we should have a special committee of inquiry of some sort to follow up this matter and that is one other option that we need to have. I wanted to go beyond that and say that there is not even one Cabinet Minister in this a country who appointed themselves. There is not even one Cabinet Minister in this country who was elected to become a Cabinet Minister. Each and every one of those Cabinet Ministers that Hon. Mushoriwa mentioned by name are directly appointed and are accountable to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. It is the President who is the appointing authority. He has the right to appoint them and to disappoint them. So it is also up to the President to ensure that Cabinet Ministers perform to the expectation of the Government.
We have the NDS1, the manifestos of parties, the Constitution; we have everything that sets the standards for everyone. So I am also challenging the Executive arm of the State, I am challenging the appointing authority to take a decisive step to ensure that there is a clear shift in the performance of the Cabinet because you cannot spend time and your resources focusing on a Cabinet Minister when you know that Cabinet Minister can be removed the next day by the President of the country. It is the responsibility of the President. In fact, I already know that there is a special Minister who is responsible for monitoring and evaluation. That is their job to make sure that a Cabinet Minister is performing to expectation.
So if Hon. Mushoriwa thinks that a Minister has failed, has shown failure of leadership, the buck does not stop with that Hon. Minister, it stops with the appointing authority. He is the one who should further investigate and make sure that each and every Cabinet Minister is performing to expectation and then if they are not able, a Cabinet reshuffle is necessary. A Cabinet reshuffle is necessary to ensure that you appoint a more competent Minister. We need to see change, a progressive change.
So, I second this motion and I say that the buck stops with the President of Zimbabwe. It is the duty of the appointing authorities to decide whether someone continues as a Cabinet Minister or not. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I stood up to oppose some of the issues mentioned by Hon. Mushoriwa in terms of the way things are being done, especially when it comes to the issue of education in this country. We know that the country is not static in terms of development. If we are going to be using the past to move forward - I do not see us developing and I do not see us uniting. The moment we start comparing leaders thinking the previous leader was better, we are not going to succeed.
The challenges that we are facing in terms of education and the living standards of the people as well as the remuneration challenges is all a result of the sanctions. How do you rule a country that has sanctions imposed on it? I want to applaud our President because he is doing well; because to be what we are today, it is because he is brave and has foresight as to what we can do despite the sanctions. We are now in a covid-19 era. For us to have schools that should use computers, it is all because of covid-19 that e-learning has been introduced. Globally, COVID-19 has affected all countries and we need to come up with a way forward to ensure that our children’s education is not affected.
It is not only Zimbabwe that is affected by the issue of education because of covid-19. Covid-19 is a challenge for everyone. So we should not say that the challenges being faced are because of the leader or the Minister running that Ministry. Let us unite and let us also take into consideration that we have our students who are putting together computers. So let us utilise them.
We have areas that do not have access to radio and those who have access to radio should ensure that they are able to get their education from the radio. What we foresee is that the Government should make use of the supplementary budget and through this budget education should be availed more funds to ensure that children are able to continue with their education.
In rural areas we need networks so boosters must be constructed and installed. So what we should be saying in this House is that more funds should be allocated to the relevant Ministers. How can children learn from a teacher who does not even have a computer and is not knowledgeable on what is happening. It is not new in Zimbabwe, in Britain it is happening, but the only difference is that Britain has the required resources and infrastructure to do e-learning.
We cannot compare ourselves to South Africa because South Africa is not under sanctions and they do not have challenges in terms of electricity. Right now what we should be considering is how we can make use of renewable sources of energy such as solar energy and how the rural schools are going to get solar. That will only be possible if we come up with ideas in this House than for us to say the Minister should be relieved of his duties.
There is COVID-19. Look at what is happening in India. Many people are losing their lives and nothing in happening in India. What I am saying is that this motion should be interrogated and we should come up with recommendations as to how we can assist the Government to ensure that our children are not denied their right to education and also that the teachers and the civil servants are well remunerated to improve their standard of living. Once we are united we can address the challenges and we should not look at the ruling party or opposition when it comes to such matters. We should look into the issue of what should be done. This is not about someone failing to rule, but the Government is utilising all available funds to ensure that we get vaccines for COVID-19. Zimbabwe has a high number of vaccinated people compared to many countries in Africa. People are being vaccinated and the Government is making maximum efforts to ensure that people are vaccinated. We need to find the cause for all these challenges. If we do not do that, we will have failed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I thought that this is an issue that I needed to address and add my voice to. I thank you.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to add my voice to this very important motion, which is actually geared towards the education of our children and their plight. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to start by saying the education system of the old regime is not something we can actually emulate today. I understand in Grade 7, you would be asked to recite a poem about Bongwi the baboon. But what was good about reciting a poem when you were not getting closer to Bongwi to see how he looks like and when he is ill, how to operate him and make him survive?
Today’s education system is where we are focusing; that we should have a practical approach and an education system that can liberate our people. Yes, we made a very huge investment Mr. Speaker Sir, right from 1980. I remember in my own constituency, we used to have only one secondary school, Mashoko High School but today we have 12 secondary schools. Now, when we have got so many schools, it means the needs will also increase and when there is a disaster in your nation, it means a lot of people will suffer.
Let us look at the type of education that we have today because some of us might be thinking of the old primary school. Today, Grade 7 is writing six subjects when we used to have two. The subjects are a local language. We can also understand that we are promoting the languages which were never promoted in the past. They are doing languages, mathematics, social sciences, physical education and arts and sciences and ICT. If you look at this base, it is going to be a good background towards Education 5.0 which our Hon. Members have been applauding when Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education, Hon. Prof. Murwira has been presenting. So, we are having a very good education system, which we should make sure we nourish, perhaps by providing the necessary resources.
Yes, the state of teachers, it goes without saying that they are in need of support. They are in need of resources, financial among them and we should understand that when we were at primary, we used to say when I grow up, I want to be a teacher. During that time, how many teachers were there - very few teachers and very few children going to school. I remember when I was doing Sub A up to Grade 5, I never saw a girl in my class but today we have got so many girls that are going to school. However, our teachers really have to be well-remunerated depending on the resources. Our challenge at the moment is that we are going such problems like Cyclone Idai, COVID-19 and of course the monster, the sanctions which have been affecting our nation.
As the Members of Parliament who are representing their own people, let us approach this problem with a patriotic mind rather than making ourselves a laughing stock. We have to be patriotic and say if we want to have our teachers assisted, then we must also be in a good position to support ourselves as Government and as MPs. Hon. Speaker Sir, we are supposed to have a no going back approach. What I am saying about that is we have already seen what has been engineered as a good education system for ourselves. What we have to do collectively is to support this type of education system that we have and also make sure that at the end, our children are going to benefit.
If you look at a person who was a student in the colonial era, that person was actually going academic; he was not even practical to the extent that one who did that sought of education would always employ people who have requisite skills and these are the skills that we are looking at today. So, we must also have some political will towards making sure that we have a good education system by supporting the programmes that are there. We must look at positive change as something that is going to make our nation prosper.
If we look at what the President did yesterday by launching the Disability Policy, this thing was not there for many years and even during our education system in the colonial era. How many disabled children went to school? These are things we are talking about and say let us now continue supporting that. If we have seen disability being recognised, what are we going to do in our constituencies? How do we make sure that disabled children go to school? So, it is a collective responsibility Mr. Speaker Sir, which will make us defeat this problem. It is a situation where we should not be having too much finger pointing. We want to say what solution are we going to proffer.
Our Constitution states that we need to provide the right type of education, quality education. Even the mission statement for the Primary and Secondary Education emphasises quality education. There is no quality education we are going to get if we do not follow the competency based curriculum. It needs of course to be supported by resources. It is ourselves as Hon. Members who should make sure that we support meaningful budgets when our budgets are made so that we can have enough resources for our teachers to get paid and our children to have enough resources in their classrooms so that they can do well. The situation we are facing is only one which has been created by those forces that have made our economy to go low. Otherwise, we have got a good crop of people who want to be focused to make sure that change takes place and we must support them. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(V)HON. WATSON: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion brought to the House by Hon. Mushoriwa. It has been of some concern and I raised it at the time the Education Amendment Act was being debated. I think our concern is that there appears to be a divide between schools in urban areas where parents are employed and find it easier to support School Development Associations and rural schools where parents do not have the same financial ability to support schools. As much as we can say, it is our collective responsibility to ensure equality of education across Zimbabwe so that we do not have a situation as we seem to have currently when many rural children do not have sufficient access or access to quality education. So we need to have collective responsibility and reveal the truth of what is happening in schools. When our Grade Seven results and our ‘O’ Level results came out, we have some schools with zero pass rate. It should not happen but it is happening and we should, as Hon. Mushoriwa said, interrogate why and how this is so, and do something when it comes to this time again.
Something we never talk about as Members of Parliament is the question which says schools have hiked school fees but this is not school fees it is schools development levy. So, how do we know what is the quantum of the parental input going to run schools across Zimbabwe in terms of urban areas or rural areas and how the parents support that? The statute that governs the running of schools was amended in 1992, where levies are said to be for schools development and are not gazetted by Government. I think this amendment needs to be revisited and aligned to the new Constitution, but we are very silent. We have to understand that some parents can afford but some cannot afford to pay those levies. We want an education sector that is all inclusive, how can this happen if we do not interrogate such hindrances as hiking of levies to the levels where some cannot afford? So I would like to support all that was said by Hon. Mushoriwa. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
(V)HON. MAGO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Mushoriwa, seconded by Hon. Molokela. I agree that we are all a product of the education sector and we could not be speaking English language which we use in this House if it was not for education. We need to give this sector the priority it deserves. We need to look at teachers in rural areas that are suffering. These days if you do not have money to feed your family you are nothing. A teacher cannot strive to teach other people’s children when he cannot afford to sent his own child to school.
We have to find ways of motivating teachers so that they enjoy their work. I would like to urge the relevant authorities of this country, those who have the mandate of running the education sector to take the teacher back on track. One of the factors is the way Government is remunerating teachers and the whole civil service at large. This can be ignored but it is the truth, nothing else but the truth Hon. Speaker. I thank you.
HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. CHINGOSHO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 15th June, 2021.
On the motion of HON. PRISCILLA MOYO seconded by HON. CHINGOSHO, the House adjourned at Eight Minutes to Five O’clock p.m until Tuesday, 15th June, 2021.