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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 MAY 2021 VOL 47 NO 50

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday 13th May, 2021

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I

move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 18 be stood over until Order No.

19 has been disposed of.

HON. T. MOYO:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REMOVAL OF COMPOSITE CLASSES FROM THE EDUCATION

SYSTEM  

 HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  I move the motion standing in my name that:

NOTING that Section 75 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic state-funded education,

WORRIED that children attending composite classes are given less learning time than their counterparts who have fulltime teachers,

COGNISANT that primary school learners in Zimbabwe who are taught in composite classes register poor Grade 7 results,

DISTURBED that heads in composite class schools are fulltime teachers within the teacher to learner ratio,

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon:

  1. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to completely remove composite classes from our Education System.
  2. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to apply the teacher/class ratio for all small schools as opposed to the teacher/pupil ratio.
  3. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to progressively recruit more teachers to increase the establishment of teachers in schools with composite classes.
  4. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to increase funding during annual budgets to facilitate provision of infrastructure and learning materials in these schools.

HON. MADHUKU:  I second.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.

Composite classes in primary schools are common in Sub-Saharan

Africa and this is according to Malkin and Higgins (2009).  In

Zimbabwe they have been in existence since the establishment of formal education and to illustrate one of the types of composite class I shall use information gathered by two researchers, Nyoni and Nyoni in 2011 at Murezi Primary School, 40 kilometres from Chivhu and 18 kilometers off Chivu-Gutu Road.

Murezi Primary School had three teachers including the head.  The three teachers shared the classes with one teacher taking Grades One and Two and the other taking Grade Three, Four and Five and the head had Grades Six and Seven.  Each teacher taught the classes under one roof and at the same time.  That is the teacher with Grades Three, Four and

Five would start with Grade 3 work proceed to Grade Four and finally Grade Five work of these combined class of three Grades.  The teacher could give written work to the lower Grades as the lesson progressed up to the last Grade or give the work at the end of the whole lesson.

One pupil interviewed at Murezi said, when the teacher was tired, they could be given the same written work. One teacher who was also interviewed confessed that he had not been trained to teach composite classes and indeed our teacher training colleges and universities today do not have a curriculum that covers training of composite class teachers.  It was also noted that when the head went for meetings, the teachers remaining would simply babysit the Grade Six and Seven

classes.

The weaknesses of this mode of teaching included as per those researchers:-

  • Upper Grades taking time learning lower Grades material.
  • Inadequate time for individual learner attention.
  • Inclusion of the head as a fulltime teacher.
  • Teachers concentrating on upper examination classes at the expense of the lower classes.
  • Untrained teachers for composite teachers.
  • The school had not been visited by the district education staff for the past five years.
  • Frustrated gifted higher grades learners who did not need the revision.
  • Demotivated lower Grades to lower learners who could not keep pace with the upper Grades learners.

Let me also give another example of a composite class in the

Zimbabwean context where a teacher has Grades Two and Five or

Grades One, Four and Six under one roof.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, because of high differentials in these Grades, it is not possible for the teacher to teach the class all at once.  So, each class is taught separately whilst others wait for their turn.  That is a teacher with three classes will teach only one lesson per class where a teacher at a school where teachers teach only one class would teach three lessons.

  • This model of composite class is characterised by inadequate teaching time per class.
  • Classes disturbing each other when there are music lessons in the other class or there is some chorus answering or there will be interesting lessons.

-There will be focus on upper Grades to the detriment of lower classes where learning actually begins.

  • Practical lessons are not going to get time as the teacher cannot go out living other learners in the classroom.

-Still like the first example, inclusion of the head as a fulltime teacher.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, composite classes are common in small and large scale commercial farming, resettlement and other sparsely populated communal areas have very low enrolments and some of them are actually threatened by non viability.  Following the announcement of the 2020 Grade 7 results and the high prevalence of 0% pass rate in Lupane district, Mr Ndlovu in 2021 carried out a research on the possible causes of high failure rates and observed that most of the Grade Seven learners were reading at Grade Three to Grade Five levels.  Learners were good at oral responses but poor at written work.  The majority of schools with 0% pass rates had composite classes.  Even in my constituency in Bikita South, I have got three schools like Chibvure, Tugwi and Mujiji that have composite classes and their results have always been bad.  Other researches have also proved the negative effects of composite classes in the performance of learners.  Russel, Rowe and Hill (2000) observed that composite classes contributed to lower classroom performance of pupils.  Mason and Burns (1996) say composite contributes to poor quality infraction and further argue that even though teachers may be superior, the demand in nature of composite classes reduces the quality of their instruction.  N. Machemedze and E Chinamasa (2015) say enough financial resources should be given to schools with composite classes and do away with these classes despite the low enrolments.  They further argue that primary school learners are still tender to be expected to learn in self supervised situations and called for each school to have a teacher per grade.

In Zimbabwe, the high primary teacher pupil ratios of 1 to 40 before COVID-19 pandemic and the 1 to 35 during the pandemic have continued to keep composite classes at play.  The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should introduce the teacher-class ratio where composite classes are imminent.  This will go in tandem with the

Ministry’s mission statement to provide equitable, quality, inclusive, relevant and competence driven primary, secondary and non formal education.  Furthermore, Section 19 (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that children should have access to appropriate education and training.

Although disasters such as drought, Cyclone Idai and COVID-19 pandemic have not spared Zimbabwe as a nation, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should prioritise funding for recruitment of more teachers, provision of resources and infrastructural development for schools with composite classes during the annual budget.  Consequently, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and

Social Welfare should progressively recruit more teachers to increase the staff in all schools with composite classes.  In the end, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will realise the complete removal of composite classes from our primary schools system and the promotion of a high teacher-pupil contact ratio culminating into motivated teachers, learners, parents and hence very good grade seven results in line with Vision 2030.  So I submit Madam Speaker Ma-am.

HON. MADHUKU: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me

this opportunity to also support the motion given by Hon. Sithole on the very critical issue of composite classes.  Let me point out from the onset that the motion specifically relates to the primary school sector which is different from the secondary school sector; because the teachers go into the classroom and teach specific subject areas and after teaching a specific subject area, the teacher leaves the class and gives way for another teacher to come in with a different learning area.

Let me begin by stating that the issue of quality education is very critical and like Hon. Sithole, he has already made reference to the

Constitution of Zimbabwe which talks about high quality education to

all learners as a right.   I am also referring to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG No. 4 which says that it is very critical for nations to build and upgrade education facilities that are child disability and gender sensitive and also provide a safe, non violent, inclusive and effective learning environment for all.  What we are saying is that the issue of composite classes contradicts the rationale for the provision of quality education in schools.  Hon. Sithole said a teacher teaches more than one class at a time or in a given day whereas his/her colleague is teaching just one.

So we have a teacher everyday of the week, the whole month, the whole calendar waking up to go to school to teach more than one class when the counterpart is teaching just one class.  This is a very glaring and unfair disparity which has to be looked at and solved as soon as possible.  They are doing that for the same remuneration.  There is no other incentive being given to such a teacher with a massive workload.  It clearly compromises the intended deliverables hence the reason we are lamenting that such a situation should be revisited and necessary action taken to redress this glaring anomaly.  Like Hon. Sithole said, teachers are not trained to teach these composite classes, increased the workload for the teacher in terms of planning, teaching, marking, practical work, extra curricula activities, the teacher has to ensure that he takes these grades because they are operating at different levels.  We are experiencing a situation whereby some learners and some classes are left unattended because the teacher would be busy with another class.  Besides this Madam Speaker, we are having teachers who are demotivated and they experience burn out physically, emotionally, mentally - mentally exhausting because of excessive stress because they feel emotionally drained because of the workload.  Such a teacher it is clear, will not be able to deliver to the maximum of his or her ability. Hence Hon. Sithole has moved this important motion by way of trying to convince the Government, the Ministry to redress the situation.

Madam Speaker, let me quickly look the other area, the challenges which are faced by learners themselves.  In a class, we have differently abled learners in a classroom situation.  We have slow learners, gifted learners.  We also have visual learners, those who can master concept by seeing what the teacher would be doing. We also have auditory learners, those who are good at just hearing the teacher teaching then they master concept by only hearing and not interested in seeing.  Those learners who are good at seeing would want to see the charts, the posters and so on pinned on the walls of the classroom, but here we are talking of composite classes whereby we have mixed grades, sometimes in the same room.

It means that we are not accommodating the different kinds of learners.  We also have kinesthetic learners in the class who are good at doing things, the hands on type of learners.  These learners also want to have an experience of touching and so on.  We also have reading and writing learners.  Those learners who are not good at listening, seeing, but they are good at reading and writing.  We are saying Madam Speaker, these environments, necessary for the different types of learners cannot be availed by the teacher when one has so many classes, sometimes in the same class and where resources, infrastructure is available, he will have to move from one class to the other, by so doing, leaving the other learners unattended. Here we are talking about the little learners, little children.  What will they be doing –running around and this is not good for the education system.  These learners are expected to work harder than their peers because they lack adequate time to be with their teachers and they are going to sit for the same examination and we are talking of the same syllabi for these learners.  When results are out, it is clear that these learners will not perform as well as their counterparts.  We are already condemning a generation before we go anywhere, because of the provision of these inadequacies in education.

Madam Speaker, I am also saying the learners themselves also miss opportunities for good social interaction, emotional growth and development because of the restrictive nature of the environment in which they learn.  So I want to say that from the motion raised, it is our plea to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as well as the Public Service Commission to ensure that the Ministry gets rid of these composite classes in the primary schools sector to ensure that we avail the same learning environment to all learners.  It is so sad that to note that this kind of situation is prevalent mostly in the rural areas where students are already disadvantaged in so many ways.  They continue to operate under very difficult conditions and we pray that this important motion sees the light of the day and corrective action be taken accordingly.  I thank you.

(v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I firstly want to thank Hon. Sithole and the seconder Hon. Madhuku for this noble motion that they have brought to the House.  It is actually a noble motion and I am happy that the two Hon. Members of Parliament are educationists and are speaking from experience.  They know the advantages and disadvantages of composite classrooms.  I would have loved if possibly Hon. Sithole could have – because the assumptions that he made are that all Members understand what composite classrooms are.  I am glad that Hon, Madhuku went an extra mile to explain what it is.  I remember in the early years of Independence when we had very few teachers and we had many children who wanted to go to school.  We had a situation in the rural areas where some of us grew, where we would have one teacher teaching two different classes in the same classroom.  A teacher would teach grade ones whilst the grade twos would be waiting to be taught or being asked to do some work on their own.  You will recall that during that time and I understand the same situation still prevails.  These composite classes happen in rural areas and if you check in the rural areas, you find that in the school where there are composite classes are the schools that do not have modern teaching equipment.  They still rely on blackboards as we used to call them, where the teacher used to write using a chalk and nine out of 10 Madame Speaker, is that he/she puts the work on the blackboard for this grade whilst the other grade is just waiting.  Madam Speaker, in a way, you are killing both the teacher and also affecting the future of the student.

I will give you a good example to simply say that in a classroom where there are Grade Ones and Grade Twos being taught by the same teacher, there is a possibility that the older children in that classroom will become disengaged and also feel that they are being held back by the lower level content that they will be subjected to because you want to believe that as a student, you are now at a certain level.  Then you have to further allow yourself to continue listening to a teacher who is now teaching something that you went through maybe a year or two earlier.  The other problem and it is actually a challenge to have one teacher teaching one class.  The level of concentration, capacity and the intelligence quotient (IQ) of students are different.  Now if it is a composite class, the possibility that students will be overlooked, especially those who are academically challenged, is high because the teacher is overwhelmed.

Thirdly Madam Speaker, it is also to do with the curriculum.  Both Hon. Madhuku and Hon. Sithole covered it, to simply say that every teacher who is teaching at a rural school like Mukwatsi Primary School, Chikomba, is doing the same syllabus and curriculum with a teacher who is teaching at Gillingham Primary School.  When it comes to Grade 7, they are supposed to be examined using the same examination paper.  Imagine that a teacher who is taking composite classes, will he/she be in a position to cover that syllabus?  It does not matter whether you say that they have few students because they are in a rural setup.  The mere fact that a teacher has to concentrate on this class and then concentrate again on another class especially now – we are now doing six subjects for Grade 7.  Imagine, the teacher now has to do six subjects for this subjects and another six subjects for the other class – it does not work.

Madam Speaker, the other problem that also then ensues in a situation like that is the question of bullying.  You have two different age groups sitting in the same classroom whether you say the other ones are sitting on the left, right, front or at the back – it does not matter because what tends to then happen Madam Speaker is that the temptation of bullying is high.  Why?  Because most of the time, those students whose class is not being taught at that particular moment become restless once the teacher goes out or even during the break period.  They tend to then bully the younger students.

Madam Speaker, I want to state here that we cannot as Zimbabwe,

41 years after Independence, be seen to be practicing such a method.

Yesterday I listened to Hon. Nyabani complaining about the situation in

Rushinga, Mt. Darwin where he was saying that in other schools they have one or two qualified teachers being left to take care of ECD through to Grade 7.  That is an indictment on our part as the leadership of this country.  At this particular moment Madam Speaker, those things and because some of us represent urban constituencies, we thought that composite classes were a thing of the past.  To imagine Madam Speaker that we are still having it in 2021 is not fair.  It means that there are certain school children from various rural setups whose future we are systematically destroying through our negligence and failure to do the right thing.

What bothers me most Madam Speaker is that I only need to move one street or from one place to another to find a number of  qualified teachers who are roaming in the streets and have now resorted to selling air time because the Public Service Commission is unable to recruit them.  I think that it is crucial that Government employs and absorbs all these teachers and send them to all the remote rural areas where there is shortage of teachers.  I think Hon. Sithole’s motion is very important as it seeks to bring equality amongst our students across all provinces of Zimbabwe.

Hon. Sithole then also calls for the need of enough teaching resources to be availed to schools.  Madam Speaker, if there is anything that COVID-19 taught us, it is the issue of online learning and we also learnt that to look at the Grade 7; O level and A level results, because only those students who had access to online learning and had schools and teachers who had access to advanced teaching material were the ones who excelled.  I know that for certain provinces, the pass rates were very poor and not because the students are bad but because Government failed to do its job.

I therefore, fully support the call by Hon. Josiah Sithole to say, let resources be channeled towards education; let all schools, whether in rural Mberengwa, Chikomba, Mutoko, Mt. Darwin and any part of this country have enough learning material.  More importantly, we should do away with composite classes.  Let us employ all those graduates from teachers colleges who are now selling air time and roaming the streets to come into the formal sector.  Let Government take them to the classes so that the future of Zimbabwe remains bright.  Madam Speaker, I thank you so much for this time and I also thank the two honourable educationists, Hon. Sithole and Hon. Madhuku for tabling this motion. 

 (v)*HON.  MAGO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity. I would like to applaud the Committee that brought this debate talking about children going into one class even if they are in different grades. That usually happens in rural areas where there are no adequate classrooms because the Ministry of Education gives a certain number as the minimum but sometimes in rural areas, a class may not get to that number, hence they bundle together Grades 1, 2, 3 and they are taught by one teacher.

Sometimes a teacher may be transferred they die or go for maternity leave and the Ministry does not replace that teacher. That happens because the Ministry says they are not able to replace that teacher. One teacher ends up teaching three classes at the same time. It is very important that Government should differentiate and specify the minimum number of pupils in each class, for example 15 so that children get a teacher instead of having to go all the way to number 30 or 35. The Ministry should also ensure that any teacher who is transferred should be replaced immediately instead of delaying and explaining that the process will be started all over.

If you also look at those schools, you find that the Acting Headmasters and Headmasters will also have classes to teach.  They are supposed to carry other duties that the headmaster is supposed to do. That means that teacher will not be able to teach those pupils because the headmaster will be in that acting role again. The other thing is that Government should specify minimum standards for a classroom block and also for teachers’ cottages. Sometimes they are very small blocks of schools with few pupils and relatively poor parents.  They pay very little amounts of fees and the fees that they pay cannot construct proper classrooms.

They are also not able to construct teachers’ cottages because of the small amount of fees they pay. I think the Ministry of Education should stipulate minimum standards for classrooms, even at least costeffective structures to be constructed for teachers’ cottages as well as classrooms so that children may learn under good conditions and this may also stop the composite classrooms. We have a lot of engineers who can be handy in that aspect so that children may learn under good classroom conditions. The Ministry of Education should not just give a blanket recommendation without necessarily assessing the situation on the ground.

Sometimes our teachers on the ground would be old people who are towards retirement. The Ministry did not replace such teachers. When we changed the curriculum, we stated that there should be a school for every five kilometers. Now ECD-A kids go at four years – how can a four year kid travel for more than five kilometers at such an age? So, we are still at five kilometers. A young kid who is four years of age cannot travel that long distance. By the time they get to school they will be tired and feeling sleepy.

We should change that culture. Sometimes the kid goes to school and travels a long distance and the kid is late and no one will ask the kid why he/she is late. That also affects the discipline aspect on the kid.

Even the teacher may not be available sometimes.  Moral is very low in the sector because teachers are also crying foul about remuneration as well as incentives. Sometimes we just cluster all the children in one group even if they are of different age groups. The Ministry of Education should relook at the plight of children who are bundled in composite classrooms. The children must also have a better culture because now they are getting to school very late and that culture gets into them. So it affects their discipline in future. I think that culture of composite classrooms must end. I thank you for giving me this opportunity.

 (v)*HON. SHAMU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me

this opportunity to participate in this debate.  I would also like to thank Hon. Sithole for moving this motion which was seconded by Hon. Madhuku.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to kindly ask that as we debate this issue, let us not stray away from reality.  Things do not just happen without a reason.  I would like to say at this juncture, it is misleading ourselves to seek immediate abolishment of composite classes.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): 

Hon. Member, you are no longer connected.

(v)*HON. SHAMU:  I was saying let us look at the context and concrete situation of our country, Zimbabwe.  As we air our views, let us be informed by reality.  According to the Constitution of this country, every child has a right to education.  That is the reason why composite classes are there.  They are trying to fulfill that constitutional requirement.  This is not only happening here in Zimbabwe.  Even if you go to Scotland, they have a law on composite classes, which binds the Minister, Secretary and all units on education.

When I heard about this motion from Hon. Sithole, I sought the input of Prof. Nziramasanga of the Nziramasanga Commission and he said we will never get rid of composite classes - not because of the law, but nature.  Mr. Speaker Sir, there are a number of reasons why teachers end up with several classes under their tutelage.  It could be because of over enrollment and under enrolment. If they are not enrolled in that area, they will then have to travel a longer distance.  So, the debate now becomes how best can we fulfill the constitutional requirements and the solution is composite classes.

The other reason is children’s abilities differ so much that it is necessary to put a class of able children on their own and that of unable children on their own under the same teacher.  Some pupils learn faster than others.  When the teacher assesses and realises that many pupils learn faster, they then try to find ways of assisting the slow learners.  The other aspect is age difference.  Let us remember that there are some pupils who start going to school at an older age. They have the right to access education as per our Constitution.  When we take that into consideration, the existence of composite schools becomes a positive strategy.   Zimbabwe today has the highest literacy rate in Africa.  This is because the educational system took all aspects of challenges into consideration.

Mr. Speaker Sir, there are schools situated in wildlife areas such as Binga and Chete.  People who live or work there have families.  Where do such people send their children for studies?  There will be wild animals in the surrounding areas. There has to be a solution so that those children get access to education.  Should we decide to do away with composite classes today, what will be the fate of children in such areas? We should proffer solutions that consider their plight.  In so doing, we also take into consideration our budget, our financial situation. How do we achieve the objectives of Vision 2030?  That cannot be done by repeating what the colonial regime used to do, where they introduced a bottle-neck system in the education sector.  Everyone was encouraged to go to school but those who ended up at the university would be very few.  Today we have many universities.   In 1980, we had very few.  We did not close the university that we had at the time in order to have many universities.

The solution which is being proffered by Government is meant to provide ease of access to education to our learners.  So, what we should be saying is how best we can address this issue going forward.  Just like what happens overseas, there should be a law.  If there is a school that has composite classes, let us address the situation in time so that we are able to give access to education to all children and not just play blame game on Government.

Hon. Speaker Sir, the Nziramasanga Commission Report explains the cause of composite classes as caused by many factors including children having to walk long distances.  The Commission recommends that we cannot do away with composite classes just like that.  Composite classes are not a problem, they are a necessity.  The Ministry should put a clear policy that requires the continued existence of composite classes in less developed areas where children are walking long distances, where there are no utilities, lack of local development, shortage of books, shortage of qualified teachers and accommodation.

Development of infrastructure for schools is a gradual process.  It cannot be done at once in all areas.  A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step and where there is a will, there is a way. I would like to thank the mover of this motion because it calls on us to look to the future.   We have no control over what happened in the past but we can contribute to determination of the future. We should not just talk of doing away with composite classes but we should recommend more resources to be availed to such schools in order to alleviate their plight.

The aim is always to fulfill the constitutional requirement which demands that every child has a right to education.  I thank you.

HON. KAPUYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am here to debate on the motion raised by Hon. Sithole and seconded by Hon. Madhuku.

There is an issue here which we are debating and we are losing focus.  We are failing to separate a composite class and a hot sitting class.  I was listening to Hon. Members who spoke before me who were arguing that education for free entails that a child should not walk 5 km from the next school.  We then have to applaud the current Government by saying kids should not walk more than 5 km, regardless of the population in that area.  The reason why we are having composite classes in the rural areas is because the schools are far apart.  Some are satellite schools, the population is small.

If you look in other areas, Grade one, you might have 10 kids.  Grade two three kids; Grade four 1 kid.  Does it require a teacher for one child?  The ratio is not possible.  What will then happen is the

Government or the Public Service Commission has no choice but to say we have to make a composite class, so that it becomes feasible for a teacher to have 15 kids instead of 1 teacher: 1 pupil or 1 teacher: 3

pupils, it is impossible.  Even the budget does not allow that.  Then there is an issue of hot sitting, where there are 60 kids in one class, there is also an issue of infrastructure which needs to be looked into.  There is also the issue of recruitment of teachers which needs to be looked into if the situation is like that.

Basing with what we have as the current situation in the country of COVID-19, there is need for classes to have what the Government is saying in the current situation.  If you look at our classrooms, they were built about 15 x 5 metres and 15 x 5 M2, it is a small classroom to accommodate 60 pupils.  The Government has to come with that solution to say they learn two or three or four days a week, so that we adhere to WHO regulations of a metre apart per child.  Now, we have to urge the Government to make sure that we increase the infrastructure and when we build our classrooms, with the planning department from the Ministry of Education, they have to make bigger classrooms.  We have to learn now from the epidemic that there is going to be that need to space our children when they are learning.

My plea to my Hon. Members, let us ask the Minister of Finance through the Minister of Education to avail more funds to the Ministry of Education so that they will bring Building Brigade to build infrastructure both in towns and in rural areas where there is a lot of kids who need to go to school and the ratio is 60:1 per teacher.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I would like to commend Hon. Sithole for bringing this motion; a motion which talks about the teacher of any nation and which is based on education.  If you recall from 1980 to 1999, Zimbabwe has a model for infrastructure development.  Schools were built, hospitals were built and infrastructure was in place.  Then we went to 1990 to 2000, where our infrastructure was critical.  The leader of the time believed that the only way a nation could be called a nation would be for it to have infrastructure.  Schools were built in the rural areas and if you look at the schools which were built in 1990 and the schools built now, you cannot compare it.

Accommodation for the teachers was there.  Water was there, Government at that point in time did not build a school without water being there; without teachers accommodation being there. The reason why teachers’ accommodation is important is that when you deplore people to those rural areas, the remuneration must be different from those in the urban because of the hardships in those areas.  Government did it, it knew very well and most of the teachers at the time were willing to go to the rural areas because of the incentives which were given to them. Teachers were well remunerated, they became part of the community and were even given land in rural areas by village heads to stay.  They had businesses because it was the way to go about being a successful person and being a teacher.

If you now compare to what this motion talks about, it is the same country, same leaders and same ideology.  What has gone wrong?  Since 1980, we have the leadership of the war veterans capable war veterans in control which is welcome because they are the custodians of the liberation we enjoy.  When they were fighting the struggle they knew what will emancipate the people and in emancipating the people they realised that the Smith regime had destroyed the blacks through not education them.

The only way that the black and Africans in Zimbabwe will be true people was to come up with a comprehensive structure which will take us to no point.  In no time, Zimbabwe was the pillar and endowed with human resources which today in SADC you cannot talk about any country which has the human resource capital as Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe today has got people all around the world working.  The question is where did these people come from?  Most of them came from rural schools; Professor Arthur Mutambara came from a rural school.   This is what Zimbabwe did because of them focusing on education.  I came out with my own quote today saying that ‘poor service conditions result in poor education results’.  There is no way you can expect good education results when the conditions are poor.  The two are inseparable.  What we have is a situation where we must ask the pillars of Government; what is the role of the Public Service

Commission, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and

Local Government and Public Works?  Who is responsible for the construction of the infrastructure - it is Public Works.  What are they doing, who is responsible for the service of teachers - it is Public Service

Commission?  Who is responsible for disbursing the money, it is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Are they playing their role in ensuring that this becomes a total package without one doing their duty?  There is no total package.  We see ourselves missing and we see a pistol which is not firing.  As a result, why have we encouraged this scenario to happen?  These children today will be blaming you and me that we let them down. How can they be liberated, how can they enjoy this country when they do not have sound education values?

Already, we are lost in this aspect and we need to address this matter as soon as possible because if you look at most countries where wars start, it is because we have a lot of children who are idle and who are not doing anything.  May we stop using schools as places where children are just packed because their parents do not know how to look after them?  You would rather have these kids at school working in the fields because at the end of the day that is a skill which can give them money. The point of going to school does not at all give them anything.  At the end of the day, what is the child learning?  Which parents in their sensible mind can say that their child is being educated when teachers are conducting lessons under such a scenario?

We are a Parliament; why have we allowed this to happen?  In view of this, I will therefore, implore Parliament, stakeholders and Government to close these schools immediately and moving forward, may they start building structures first before enrolling school children.          We are having a situation where we are allowing children to learn under a tree.  Which school with people who have normal senses would really perform well with children learning under a tree - it is uncomfortable.  The comfort of a student is critical in them thinking sharp, being alert and being able to be attentive.  We now have a situation where we talk about COVID-19 right now.  How hypocritical can we be as a country to say that we are observing World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations when we have got five or six classes in one room?  Are we not being hypocritical?  Why are we lying to people?

We are arresting people, why are we not arresting these teachers if we are to follow the law?

One classroom has got four classes in there and there is one teacher.  We are now talking about a situation where recently the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has got to recruit trained teachers who are there.  They are not being recruited and it is not a question of inadequate resources.  If we believe that education is critical to the growth and future of this country, why are we not putting money into education?  I chaired the Primary and Secondary School Portfolio Committee at the time it got more money than anybody else but the money that we got at the time was to pay the teachers and not to build infrastructure.

I therefore urge Members of Parliament when we are passing a budget on Education, may we first approve the budget for infrastructure before we approve the budget for the salaries.   You are now approving salaries for the teachers who are doing nothing; that money is going to waste.  You would rather put it into infrastructure.

When there is infrastructure, children are comfortable and the teachers are able to teach.  Now you have a situation where the teachers cannot teach and the children are not comfortable at the end of the day. What do we get out of it? It is important that Parliament really when the budget is at play we really focus on education because some of these things expose us.  We represent people, and in representing people the budget is critical to the representation of people.  When we pass the Budget here, this is where immediately there must be a supplementary budget which is coming to this House motivated by the Portfolio Committee on Education that so much billions must be put towards infrastructure for education.

Nothing stops that in terms of the law.  We have not seen any Minister coming here asking for more money.  We have not seen them coming here and I am glad that the Chairman for Finance and Budget Committee is here.  If at all with the inflation that is going on, the

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development must be here every day seeking condonation so that he matches the money that we approve to inflation.  We now have a situation where there is no traction in terms of money being provided to meet the demand.  The Minister is not coming to seek condonation for him to be able to spend more money. In the COVID-19 time, there are emergencies and procurement to be done and money is availed. When it comes to the important things which matters to the future of this country, money is not availed.

We must be able to probe the Minister why he is not coming to this Parliament because this Parliament will pass this supplementary budget anytime for infrastructure for these school children at the end of the day.  They are living in another world, not Zimbabwe and it is painful. I feel for Members of Parliament who are in rural constituencies.  In fact we must actually have a position.  I used to be a Member of Parliament in a rural constituency, and I am a Member of Parliament in an urban area.

I must also say that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) must give more money to members in rural constituencies than those in the urban.  They must be given money for infrastructure so that they develop these rural constituencies.  This is what we must be talking about.   In the urban, I personally do not require as much money as those in the rural areas and so forth.  There must be an incentive for members in the rural areas to even be given 4 by 4 cars and those in the urban areas must not be given.  It does not make sense giving me a car in the urban where the roads are tarred.  We have Members of Parliament who are in rural areas who need to get to these points, for Hon. Sithole to have come up with this report, it was because he had to use his car to get to that point; yet him and I are on the same payroll, I am in the urban – it does not make sense.  We cannot allow a country to grow when we are not also being able to reward those who are putting more money and effort into what they are doing.  Members of Parliament by their own are not rich people; they are there to serve the country and a purpose.

How come we have got untrained teachers, how did they find themselves there?  The reason why we have got untrained teachers is that the conditions for the qualified teachers is not in place, so you pick Ordinary level and Advanced level students in these areas who end up teaching  - there is a problem.   Do they follow the curriculum? No, they do not.  So you are now going a 1000 km in the wrong direction and for you to come back, it is impossible because you would have gone too far.

You will now subject them to a life which is not of their fault - as leaders, we have seen this happening.

In terms of the ECD, we cannot even talk about it at all.  I think at times we are unfair to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, we ask so many questions about results, yet we know very well that results are out of teachers who are well remunerated.  The Public Service Commission is responsible for that, at times we must be able to really point the questions relevant to the Minister because the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education does not employ.  He is saying I am looking for workers, the Public Service Commission is the one that must be able to do that and the Minister of Finance must come in with the much needed funds.

If you look at the results that he posted following the announcements of the 2020 Grade Seven results and the high prevalence of zero pass rates in Lupane District, Mr. Ndhlovu of Lupane State University carried out a research on the possible causes of high failure rate and observed that.  This is important and I must commend the researcher for coming up with this because it gives us some information and gives us a basis of where to start as well as where to lobby from.

I would also like to commend Hon. Sithole for having coming up with this report.  There were three things; most of the grade seven learners were reading at Grade 3 to Grade 5 level – that is important. So, you think your child is at Grade 7 level, they are not.  When they are playing with their friends who are in grade seven, there is a discrepancy in terms of the mental capacity.  How do they feel, there is what you call self esteem that you know, when a child is amongst their peers and they are the same age speaking about school, they want to be part of it.

I want to say this that it has  mental problems because he does not fit in because those who are Grade 7 and their aptitude is Grade 7 - he is Grade 7, yet his aptitude is Grade 5 – how does he then fit?  He then withdraws from this crowd and suddenly he is affected mentally for life. It is a painful picture because he cannot then play with his friends because he is not part of them intellectually and yet they are at the same level.  When they go home, the parents would not have understood why he is quiet, why he is crying, he has his journey alone thinking that I was not part of my peers and all that.

Learners were good at oral responses but poor at written work – for me as a parent, I would probably say to my child let me teach you how to look after cattle, to be a farmer.  They are good at written work because there are no resources, text books are not there, and the parents in the rural areas are not funded in terms of this.  This comes to the issue of Section 27 of the Constitution, if I am not mistaken, which talks about the right to education.  The right to education without resources provided means nothing.  We come here and talk about the right to education.   We are saying that children must not be banned from going to school.

However, when they go to school what is at school, what have we done in the budget to make sure that we support the resources at the school?  They have no textbooks, chalks are not there but they are in school, so there is one thing, us having a constitutional mandate to make sure that kids go to school for free.  There is another issue when they go to school, what do they learn with?  Who teaches them, is the teacher there?

Now, we are talking about a situation with COVID 19 where we used to say that the ratio really should be 1:40 and now it is 1:35 and it is split classes.  There is no teacher, there is no student, no matter how brilliant they are, who will be able to achieve what they need to achieve. The whole purpose of education is to get people to understand, not to pass.   When they say you must just have O levels so that you basically understand certain things - you do not have to be an A student, but you need to be able to understand certain things - that is what education is about.

Education is not about attaining but it is basic education which makes you understand the world, country and what it is.  So with COVID-19 now, you have a teacher who splits.  Hon. Members, this situation cannot continue, we are lying to ourselves and to the nation being in this House thinking that the condition is sustainable.  It is not sustainable, the teacher is now splitting himself into two classes of 15 minutes each – there is a shortage of teachers.  How does the school children absorb anything?  When we went to school, your teacher was always present in class; today 15 minutes the teacher is there, he needs 3 minutes to get to the next class to get another 12 minutes, they do not even get the 15 minutes needed.

With COVID we needed to really look and that is the reason why we listen to what other countries were doing instead of coming up with our own solution, we wanted to please the world and not our people.  We could have halted these exams, we could have stopped education until people got back when it is on equal terms but the discrepancy which is there and the gap which has been created is unbelievable.         I believed in the Government system, I took my children to Greystone Park School in Harare.  Only one day -  I got home, my son walked from school, which was dangerous for him to walk but I was happy because he knew his way home because he is always in a car going to school.  I asked him why he was not in school and he said, “my class is in the afternoon.” I went to the school and said to the headmaster; I will never stop supporting this school but unfortunately I have to transfer my kids to a riding school because I cannot as a parent think of my child walking seeing that he has to go back for an afternoon lesson.  Great headmaster, great school, great results but for the future of my kids, I had to say no, I have to pack my bags and go.  I will continue to support the school; it is not your fault.  We as leaders have got to do something to change this so that there can be hope for you.  The Speaker always says our Parliament must always be world class Parliament but our Parliament must also give hope to people.  May we give hope to these children?  I want to applaud once again, Hon. Sithole for such a contribution which touches on real issues on the ground and many Members of Parliament who have really moved this.  May we also elevate to the next level making sure that when the budget is being done, we accommodate this so that this is sustainable and we take corrective measures.

(v)HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I will not be long.   I would like to just add my voice to the motion as presented by the two Hon. Members.  My first take which I would like to bring to the table is the issue of the teacher ratio to pupils.   While we listen to the debates that are mainly centered on issues pertaining to established schools, both urban and rural, where I have a problem is that there are huge areas of informal settlements where the school infrastructure has remained as it was 30 years ago.  In my own constituency I have a situation with one school which is called a satellite school and has under 1 000 children in six classes, but the problem does not rest there, there is nothing else other than the rudimentary building of six classes.  We have one headmaster who is rotated regularly and is paid by the State.  The rest of the teachers are paid by the parents.  Now, this sort of issue is inherent across many areas and that is our fundamental problem.  As soon as we have that issue of that number of children hot-sitting in those classrooms we are at a massive disadvantage with education, the future of our children.  I would like to reiterate what numerous Hon. Members have said, the issue of not paying attention to our education system for the benefit of our budget has to be redressed and redressed quickly.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Shamu and Hon.

Nyabani, may you maintain your social distancing.

(v)HON. MARKHAM:  We are stealing from the future of our children.  I have a major issue with the teachers.  The teachers have an issue where they are worried about their salaries.  Fundamental issues like housing, pension funds, medical aid and transport all build up into a package to encourage the teachers to do their job.  At the moment, most teachers have a secondary line of income not because they want to, but out of necessity.  So you will find a lot of teachers are actually more desperate for their vending business than they are to educate our children.

The other issue we have and it all relates to resources, is some of our schools have not received any books for years and years other than that given to us by multilateral agencies and we have to redress this.  I am very concerned with the Government policy when it comes to teachers as in the civil servant.  There is a basic ban, reduction or resistance to recruit more people.  We have more children therefore we need more teachers.  There are numerous teachers who are unemployed and cannot get onto the payroll.  This leads now and particularly in my constituency we have a mushrooming not only of private schools or semiprivate schools, but also unregistered schools and as a result, in desperation, parents are paying for these schools to operate in order to get their children educated.  This is what I would like to recommend, let us, in the next budget, play absolute attention to the existing schools and see what is required.

In my constituency, not one school and I am fortunate that I represent a low density suburb and a high density suburb, where we have an issue which covers both is when it comes to technical subjects and in technical subjects I mean agriculture, sewing, domestic science and chemistry.  Most schools are totally incapable of teaching those subjects correctly because of lack of resources and it is imperative because those are what this country requires.  The technical subjects are desperately required by this country and we are stealing from the future to reduce our civil servants right here and as a result, we are not paying the teachers correctly, the parents have a bigger burden and we have a high, massive student to teacher ratio.  If I take my high density constituency of Hatcliffe, the ratio of teachers to students is over two and a half times the requirement.

I would like to thank both Members for bringing this to our attention and all the Members who have debated so far.  I thank you.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MUTAMBISI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 18th May, 2021.

MOTION

DEPLOYMENT OF TEACHERS IN RURAL AREAS

HON. NYABANI:  Hon. Chair I rise to move the motion standing in my name that this House:

MINDFUL of the need for strategic intervention in the deployment of teachers in rural areas where the staff turnover is high;

COGNISANT that the Constitution provides for access to education for all citizens regardless of colour and creed;

ACKNOWLEDGING that the staffing of teachers has a direct bearing and linkage on the performance of learners and also the access to education;

FURTHER COGNISANT that most schools in the rural areas such as Rushinga recorded disturbing pass rates which were as low as 3%;

NOW, THEREFORE, Calls upon the Ministries of Public Service,

Labour and Social Welfare and Primary and Secondary Education to:-

  1. Urgently fill vacant teaching posts in rural and marginalised areas so as to mitigate the challenges of zero percent pass rate;
  2. Incentivise the condition of service for teachers, particularly for those who volunteer to stay in such places despite the poor living conditions and other related hardships, unlike those who are lured to go to urban centres where transport and other benefits such as extra lessons are readily available;
  3. Urgently consider benefits such as waiver of tuition fees for teachers with children in government schools; and
  4. Decentralise recruitment of teachers to the Provinces and Districts in line with the Devolution Policy so that locals benefit.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

*HON. NYABANI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to speak concerning the teachers in the rural areas, on how, after the zero percent pass rate of Grade 7 students, the recruitment of teachers in the rural areas is being done.  As we all know, teachers are recruited by the Government and that includes those that teach in the rural areas.  The way children in rural areas and those in urban areas are taught should be the same throughout the whole country.  I am therefore moving this motion so that we look into the recruitment of teachers that teach in the rural areas so that we do not continue having these zero pass rates year after year.

Mr. Speaker Sir, concerning the recruitment of teachers in the rural areas, it has been noted that when teachers are recruited to go and do work in the rural areas, they are recruited here in Harare and it has been noted that when the teacher gets to Rushinga or Binga, what he finds on the ground will be different to what he was expecting because he will no longer be able to speak to his relatives.  In the rural areas, the working conditions are deplorable and when that person is in the rural area, he thinks of transferring to the urban area.  It has been noted that schools in the rural areas have no teachers anymore.  Therefore, I am bringing this motion that why is it that teachers in the rural areas are no longer there for they are very few.

Mr. Speaker, concerning Rushinga you find a school having one teacher from Grade One up to Grade Seven.  What do we expect as parents?  Are we saying people in the rural areas have no right to education because they are in areas where there is no network or where there is no entertainment.  My point of view is that in such areas like

Rushinga, we should have the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education based there so that they analyse how best they can give the right to education to those children.  It pains me that when we come here, someone will say people in Rushinga are not learned, so they do not deserve to be given positions.  I am here to represent the people of Rushinga as enshrined in the Constitution.  Now, it is like people in the towns are the ones with the right to education.

Mr. Speaker, Government should recruit more teachers so that we will not have poor pass rates again in the rural areas.  We do not want to see that continuing next year.  I do not agree that we are splitting teachers due to COVID-19 because in Rushinga there were no teachers even before this pandemic.  I urge the Government to recruit teachers.  Let teachers be recruited at the district office.  Why are we doing the recruitment at national level?  As it is, teachers being recruited in Harare are more powerful than the District School Inspectors.

Madam Speaker, I implore this House to make sure that the

Ministry recruits teachers in rural areas where people like us and Prof. Mutambara learnt.  There is no nation that will progress without education.  I attended a school in a rural area from mud built classrooms.

We can build our infrastructure but firstly we should have teachers.  When you are busy building infrastructure without teachers, what will these learners be doing?  It is my advice to the Government that if we want teachers to stay in the rural areas, let us give more allowances to teachers in the rural areas.

Like what was said by Hon. T. Mliswa, let the amount of CDF going to rural areas be more than those of urban areas.  Therefore, teachers should get more allowances.  Those teachers travel long distances after dropping from the bus and they carry water using buckets from boreholes.  There is no connectivity; they climb on mountains for them to access network.

So, Government should give allowances to teachers in the rural areas so that they are motivated. Secondly, let Government allow rural teachers to take their children to Government schools for free.  Thirdly, in yesteryears, teachers where recruited from district offices.  What is so special that has brought this change? Why is it that the recruitment office is now in Harare only?  For example, from Nkayi to Harare, you have to board a bus but how much is that? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The teacher wants to take his or her child to a boarding school in Nkayi but he is transferred to Rushinga and is expected to give his child money to go to boarding school.  Will that teacher stay in Rushinga?  Hon. Members, if this Parliament wants to improve the welfare of pupils – unless if we are just here for coupons, I think I am better because I have reached the Parliamentary level but what of my child?  I was taught by temporary teachers but right now there are no teachers. I want to say to Government that next year we do not want to talk about the zero percent.  I hope what I have said will be taken into consideration.

Mr. Speaker, in my constituency there are more than 300 vacancies for teachers because teachers have transferred and pupils are not learning.  Imagine the gild child going to school and remains idle - we will have child abuse cases.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to add my voice to the motion moved by Hon. Nyabani.  This motion is premised on the understanding that there is a strong link between the availability of teachers and the pass rate. We were disturbed by a number of schools in the rural areas which recorded 0% to 3% pass rate.  This is why we are moving that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Care and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should reconsider how they employ teachers in the rural areas and how they also take care of the welfare of teachers who are in the rural areas.

I want to start by adding that we urge the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to create a structural platform whereby there is going to be engagement between the Ministry officials and those who represent teachers, especially those in the rural areas.  My understanding is that we already have an association that represents teachers in the rural areas.  This association clearly understands what is going on in the rural areas and how its members are being affected by the conditions in the rural areas.  Therefore it will be important for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to have a structural platform for engagement.  Through the engagement with teachers in the rural areas, the plight of the teachers which will then also affect the plight of the learners will also be addressed amicably because there will be a proper engagement.

I also add that on the issue of decentralisation I will just add few advantages of decentralising recruitment of teachers.  This will allow those who are comfortable with teaching in those areas to choose to be in those areas like Rushinga or Binga where they understand not only the economic situation there but also have an understanding of even the economic culture such that when they think of having other means to cushion their salaries through their own initiatives, they know where to start because they have been used to staying in those areas.  Some of them possibly are farmers whose education was funded through fishing or other economic activities that are peculiar to the respective rural areas.

So it will be difficult to have someone who went to Warren Park High and is deployed to Rushinga.  It will be difficult for that person to start to learn how to get extra money through the economic activities which they are not familiar with in the respective environment.  So it will be an advantage because those teachers will be willing to stay longer in those schools and it will be an advantage to our learners in rural areas.  Therefore this issue should be considered seriously to give people who would want to volunteer to be in those areas.  Some of them are used to harsh weather conditions.  If you go to areas like Dande, those areas are characterised by very high temperatures such that someone who is not used to those high temperatures will not be comfortable staying in such areas.  This is why we are saying it will be important for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to consider decentralisation of recruitment of teachers.

I also want to add on the issue of non-monetary incentives.  In other countries they call those incentives hardship allowances.  It is actually hard for someone to be working for government in rural areas where there is no transport, network and a whole lot of other things.  So to attract more teachers to stay in those areas, government should come up with non-monetary incentives.  This is where we are pleading with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Care and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to consider provision of hardship allowance and other non monetary incentives.

If you compare teachers who are in rural areas to those in urban areas, those in urban areas have opportunities to cushion what they get from government and they also have other advantages because for example in Harare there is subsidised transport, something that might not be available in most rural areas.  You will find that in some areas, there is only one bus.   If they miss that bus, then they have to wait for another day, but in urban areas we have teachers benefitting from subsidised transport.  They also have a choice even when they want to buy groceries they go to different shops which is different from life that those in rural areas have to endure.

It is therefore important that government looks into the possibility of providing non monetary incentives, so that they can attract more teachers to stay longer in rural schools.  Without these monetary incentives we will continue to have problems where schools will have a shortage of teachers and this will continue to affect future generations because our children will not be able to attain the pass rate that we expect in the rural areas.  Madam Speaker Ma-am we believe this is an important motion which we think should be seriously considered by this House.   We also urge the two Ministries to consider the issues affecting rural teachers so that in a few years to come, we can address the problem of 0% to 3% pass rate.  I thank you.

*HON. MUCHENJE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to add

my voice on the motion brought by Hon. Sithole about the rural areas.  It pains us as parents on educational issues.  They are not taken seriously.  As representatives of people and as parents as well, we have to stand together with people.  The issue of overpopulation in schools in rural areas is because most people have migrated from urban areas, to rural areas.  Government should have ensured that when people migrate to rural areas, they should go to growth points so that in the urban areas it is not overcrowded.  We also want to look at the issue of teachers in the rural areas.  The number of teachers did not increase in these rural areas.  They have accommodation challenges and sometimes you would find that two families would be sharing one cottage, which we may say there is no privacy of the family.  They would know how each family would relate to their spouses.   Each family should have their own separate accommodation.  This will also lead to unnecessary commotion or misbehaviour where you find boys and girls sleeping in the same room because of lack of accommodation.  If you check the children going to school in these rural areas – as I said, some teachers go to teaching practice, you would hear that they are not supposed to go to schools far from tarred roads or from network because supervisors want to see them closer.  It was better if these teachers go for teaching practice in rural areas because it increases the number of rural teachers.  Therefore, I am requesting Government to consider the road infrastructure so that children in the rural and farming areas also get them the necessary attention as those in urban areas. We used to learn even when our parents were in town because the population was limited but now the population is vast both in urban and rural areas.  For example, when I grew up I gave birth to six children and amongst my children, one might have six, one having four.  If you add that number, you will find that the number multiplies in that family.  Government should consider all these things.  I personally represent the urbanisation of rural areas so that people should be not be migrating to town.  If they stay in rural areas where there are good roads, good schools and availability of water, then children will also learn properly.

We allowed exams to be written saying that children were learning through online, but as an MP representing a rural constituency, you will find that some of the children do not even know how to operate the phone but we still insist that these learners were learning online.  We are being retrogressive because there is no difference with what used to be Group A schools and Group B schools.  You will find that the poor remains poor and the rich are going ahead richer.  As parliamentarians, we should continue coming up with ways that benefit everyone.  Our infrastructure should be developed.  The energy Ministry should install solar systems in schools so that learners can learn even at night.  The Ministry of Water should also connect water in schools even flush toilets, not a situation where we have a child refusing to get into the urban toilets because he is used to blair toilets.

The issue of composite classes, because teachers do not want to go to rural areas, you will find one teacher teaching all these children.  When someone has taken those classes, he is just doing it not out of his own will but he has been forced.  He will not practice what he was taught at college because you will find one class would be having 50 learners.  What more if there are three classes, that means they will have

150 learners.  I have three children but they give me a lot of headaches.  What more of the teacher looking at 150 learners.  How much is the teacher getting considering that all professions come from the teacher?

Yet he is the one who is supposed to take care of every child regardless of where that child is coming from, whether disciplined or undisciplined, the teacher has to take care of that child.  We know that the teacher is doing a great job, he should be given good money.  Teachers, just like domestic workers, should be treated well so that he/she does not destroy your family.  School children also need to be well taken care of.  This time is the winter season and a teacher will be having two classes. How do you suppose the teacher will teach whole-heartedly in such an environment?  Let this Government prioritise education.  I know of some teachers who have a calling and I remember a certain teacher who even when she was not feeling well she would go to work, then there are some teachers who just joined the teaching fraternity for lack of better work and such teachers are allocated three classes – nothing will come out of those classes.

Right now, people should have recreational centres so that when we have several homes in different places, children can go there and learn.  We want our children to learn.  Truly speaking, currently most parents who reside in the urban areas believe that living in the rural areas is unworthy but Zimbabwe, we can make it.  For example, if you take a child to a rural boarding school, you will find that he/she will pass better than a child who is attending boarding school in an urban area because of the different environments.  The learner will know that when I go to a rural boarding school, he/she is there specifically for learning.  Therefore, if we do not urbanise the rural areas, we will have failed as Zimbabwe.

I want to say this firstly that, let rural schools be modern schools with water and hygiene; let us have solar systems in place for our electricity, road networks improved and lastly let us have health centres.  Currently, some learners are on ART taking ARVs.  The schools do not have health centres and if a child happens to break a leg, he/she will be ferried by his colleagues to health centres.  With these few words, let us try to change our rural schools so that they are modernised because a lot of people have migrated to rural areas and the rural population has increased.  I thank you.

*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO:  Thank you Madam Speaker

Ma’am.  I would like to add my voice to the motion that was tabled by

Hon. Nyabani.  When we look at educational issues, it is very painful because education is the back bone of our children.  When we say we want doctors and engineers, it all starts from education and if we fail to provide that, we will have killed our nation.

Personally, I think we have devolution and I hope that if these teachers are coming from the areas that they work at, he/she will work hard in order to improve his area.  I want to encourage the Government to continue deploying teachers from those areas where vacancies are.  For example, in my constituency they contact me asking which teachers to employ for certain vacancies but here is the issue, our schools are in bad state.  I want to support the previous speaker who said when we have distribution of CDF, we should consider where these Members of Parliament are coming from, looking at the size of the area and the bigger the area, the more money they should be allocated.  We have Members of Parliament from resettlement areas which areas are very remote such that schools in these areas have improper infrastructure to an extent that during winter, learners fail to attend lessons because of the weather.  Let CDF be allocated according to the size of constituencies because no teacher wants to stay in a poorly built house.

We are therefore saying that as Government, let us build proper accommodation so that teachers can come to these schools.  Sometimes the Government may have other commitments.  Like now, we are faced with COVID-19 and some of the allocated funds have been channeled towards fighting against the pandemic.  There is also the issue of teachers not attending lessons and this should be addressed.  If it is about salaries,  

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I think we all know that teachers are underpaid. So, we are saying let us give the teachers reasonable salaries, considering where they buy commodities because in the rural areas prices are high. Teachers in the rural areas should have an allowance because where they buy their commodities compared to us here is very expensive. When commodities are expensive, the teacher will not have enough money to look after his family and he will now start going to find other means.

We also want to consider the issue of transport. These teachers should be given loans to buy cars so that they can travel and see their families who will be far away. So they should be given these loans so that if they want to buy bicycles, let them buy bicycles. In my submission, I think let us give them what enables them to work in those rural areas. I also want to look at the learning environment. There is what we call hot sitting. I think as parents, we can construct temporary shades so that all learners learn at the same time instead of having hot sitting because this is disadvantaging other learners, especially those who go in the afternoon.

As parents, let us help schools in our surroundings so that the learners can learn in a conducive environment. We have discussed that let teachers’ salaries be increased. If here in Parliament do not agree that teachers’ salaries be increased, it will not happen. Let us say that money for schools should be increased and those who are responsible for that money should take the money to the schools. Right now you will find that teachers are segregating learners for extra lessons and only those who can afford extra-lesions are the ones that are learning.

We are saying if the teacher is found teaching extra lessions having been paid a good salary, he/she should be taken for disciplinary measures. Right now, they are doing it secretly and parents are complaining about these extra lesions because they come to the Member of Parliament complaining of these teachers having extra lessons because they cannot afford to pay the money that is required. So, because these learners are not learning, will not come out with good results at the end of the year.

Therefore, we are saying let us have a stop to extra lesions. We should not just investigate in the urban areas because we are close to the urban areas. We should also go to the rural areas. There are some schools that do not even know that there is an inspector. You get there and they will tell you that we have never seen the inspector and they are just in darkness. The teachers are doing whatever they want.

So we are saying let these areas be reachable so that education is accessible to everyone because when it is time to go to university, that child will not go to the university and he/she will never be equal to other learners. We are talking of online learning. This is learning using computers. This is a good way, but if you look at how it is being done in the rural areas, they have no knowledge of online learning or even of the computers.

I think the Ministries concerned should go and inspect these schools in remote areas. We are also saying some schools do not have water and learners carry water to school. Even now during COVID, learners are carrying water in their bottles. I am therefore saying the Government should treat all children equally. They are trying to level areas but not with rural areas. Thank you.

(v)HON. WATSON: Good afternoon Madam Speaker and thank

you for allowing me to add my voice to this motion. I would like to compliment the two Hon. Members who brought the motion on education and the Hon. Members who brought this one, one leading to the other and ironic enough after the Minister of Public Service presented certain facts and figures yesterday in his Ministerial Statement to Parliament. I would like to say that Hon. Mliswa  previously in that previous debate mentioned the lack in education, the balance of education up to 1980 and then the great big push from 1980 onwards for greater equality in education. I think sadly that both of these motions show us that in our regard this has slept back quite radically and the figure that the Minister gave us yesterday of numbers of teachers required 50 470 teachers - if you carefully look at that in terms of our education budget, it is a quantum leap and it would actually mean doubling the education budget which is already the biggest part of our budget. So, Hon. Markham in his debate from the previous motion said that when we debate the budget, we should seriously look at the education budget. I think that we need to seriously look at it now, prior to the next budget. We need facts, figures and we need disbursement of schools, we need areas where - the Minister said there are 1800 schools with no infrastructure. Where are those schools?  Hon. Markham spoke about this peri-urban part of his constituency and I too have peri-urban areas of my constituency where there are no schools.  Access to school for those children means travelling equally as far as children in rural areas travel to get to schools.  Equally, all of those schools are under huge pressure and pupil to teacher ratios range from 1:60 and 1:70.  That is across primary and across senior schools.  So, this is a Zimbabwean problem.  It is not just a problem of rural or urban schools.

Actually, for me I think that we created, unfortunately, a situation where education has become the preserve of parents with finances.  These are the parents who can afford extra lessons.  They are the parents who can afford to move their children from one school to another school.  They are the parents who contribute hugely to school development levies, which is something in Parliament we do not talk about.  We talk about school fees and increases in school fees.  We do not talk about school development levies, which is actually what goes up constantly.

The parents who support the school development levy support the development of schools.  Even if the Minister of Finance and Economic Development was in a position to give the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education special money to increase the number of teachers to the required level by an additional 50000 teachers, where is the infrastructure?  We are still going to have composite classes because there are not enough classrooms.  We are still going to have hot - sitting because we still do not have enough classrooms.  These are three things that have come to Parliament yesterday and today, that all lead into each other.  I think as Members of Parliament, we need to talk about them with facts, figures, with A + B = C in reality for Zimbabweans.  That takes us to a special moment when we get to the next budget with the

Ministry of Finance. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

(v)+HON. G. DUBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity that you have given me so that I speak about the motion moved by Hon. Nyabani and seconded by Hon. Hamauswa.  Madam Speaker, it is a pity that 41 years after the independence of Zimbabwe, we are here in this House talking about the welfare of teachers in the rural areas.  I concur with the Hon. Members who spoke before me that Government should take into consideration the need to treat teachers differently.  You will take note that teachers who are brought in the rural areas are people who do not come from those areas.  This means they travel long distances.   Especially the district where I come from, Hwange West, the conditions for teachers are so bad.  Teachers work hard and some of them have to pay something like US$15 so that they move from one place to another.

Madam Speaker, we also want to take into consideration that teachers who teach in rural areas, the student to teacher ratio is big compared to teachers who teach in urban areas.  You find one teacher having 100 students per class.  As they do their day to day work as teachers, you will realise that they are doing their duties on an empty stomach because the salaries that they earn are not enough to buy themselves proper meals.  It is very difficult for teachers who teach in rural areas to commit themselves fully to their day to day activities.  We are therefore appealing to the Government to re-consider the salaries that are given to teachers in rural areas.

They should also consider when they are hiring teachers in rural areas to take teachers who are coming from the same community.  There is need to recruit qualified teachers who are living in that community who are native speakers of the language that is being spoken in that community so that the students can benefit.

You will realise that during weekends, most teachers have to get part time jobs so that they can sustain themselves.  By doing that, they actually get respect.  Teachers are supposed to be respected professionals but because of the salaries that they get, they are not respected in their communities.  Hence, there is need to upgrade their salaries.  Even the teaching aids, for example the textbooks that they have, you will realise that per class, there is only one textbook that the students have to share.  How then do we expect the teachers to perform well and produce good results?

Teachers who are working in rural areas also have difficulties in getting water.  They have to walk something like 30 kilometres to fetch water.  They do not have electricity and most of them depend on firewood.  Teaching is one profession but now you realise we are having two groups.  Those who are teaching in rural areas are not given good packages that can sustain them and you realise that those who are working in urban areas are actually benefiting more.  At the same time, we expect these teachers to produce good results.  How do we expect them as a nation to perform under such working conditions?

In some rural areas, the community will end up looking for teachers who can assist and do extra lessons for their children so that they can perform well during exams.  We are therefore burdening the community because it comes as a burden on their shoulders.  All they want is betterment for their students.  Hence they end up looking for teachers to do extra lessons for their children. We are therefore encouraging those who are responsible for hiring teachers, that it is high time you start taking those qualified teachers who are  not currently working from the community and also the native speakers of the same community so that even the community benefit from that.  It is very important for the teachers to understand even the native language that is being spoken around the community.  Why taking someone who does not understand even a single word of that community and you expect the person to teach, especially if they are ECD pupils using English only.

They cannot even understand the native language that is being spoken in that community.  There is need to take teachers who are native speakers of the language that is being spoken in that community.

On resource allocation, it also helps in building the infrastructure in schools if we allocate resources according to schools.  It is my wish that Government prioritises the welfare of teachers.  Where I come from, you will realise that what teachers call a meal is not at all a proper meal.

All these are implications of low salaries which they get. I thank you.

(v)*HON. SAIZI: Thank you for giving me this opportunity.  I want to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Nyabani and seconded by Hon. Hamauswa.  We have a problem that we have trained teachers who are all over the country but they are not absorbed in the system.  If we look at what happened in the past, there was an allegation that because of COVID-19, the young girls at tender ages were married off but this is now going to happen again.  Many boys especially in Muzarabani where I come from, are now doing whatever they can to get money.  Parents no longer encourage children to go to school because they do not see the benefit.  They have other children who are still loitering yet they have trained as teachers.

If we look in the past, there was no shortage of teachers.  Many people who occupy high offices right now were once teachers but right now, we have a lot of trained teachers who cannot be absorbed by the system. That shortage of teachers is leading to children doing whatever they want and they no longer go to school. So, what sort of generation are raising?  How do we expect these children to inherit the future of this country when they have shunned going to school?  This is a sad thing.  If we do not handle this issue very well as a country, we will go down history in a negative way.

All along we were boasting as a country because of our high literacy rate in Africa, but where we are right now, we are making a generation that will be a laughing stock in the whole world.  That issue of making use of CDF has been debated properly and we can go a long way that way.  I thank you for giving me this opportunity.

(v)HON. MASENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker Maam for

giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate which was raised by Hon. Nyabani and seconded by Hon. Hamauswa.     Let me say in the past, in the rural areas, I was also a teacher for a long time, in this country as well as abroad.  In the past, teachers who had just graduated were not allowed to be employed in the urban areas.  They were supposed to spend two or three years in the rural areas so that the rural areas will did not have untrained teachers only to ensure that pupils were taught by trained teachers.

That policy should be brought back so that all those who would have just completed teachers’ training should go to the rural areas as a form of national service.  The pass rate of children is determined by how the teachers work.  In my constituency, I have noticed that in the rural areas children passed very well and some went all the way to achieve even 10 points.  If teachers have not committed themselves to teach, we could not have obtained such a pass rate.  Teachers must have passion for teaching.  In some areas, teachers do not care about their work.

Sometimes we are told that a teacher goes to school a few days of the week.  Some of them even go to work whilst drunk and you wonder how they are going to teach in such a state.  We should urge teachers to be exemplary.  Some teachers are raping girls and girls end up dying whilst giving birth.  I would like to say a teacher is an exemplary person in society.  So I encourage them to be exemplary especially in the rural areas.

Despite all that in the rural areas, teachers in rural areas can get all the material that can assist them to work properly.  They should get access to water, power or electricity.  They should also be given an allowance for staying in the rural areas so that they earn higher than teachers in the urban areas and they will be motivated wherever they are.

 

We should also alleviate their plight for transport, travelling to urban area from the rural areas will be very expensive.  Let us also ensure that they get an allowance for transport so that it alleviates their transport needs.  In the absence of enough materials for work that should not be given as an excuse for teachers not to work.  There is no country in this world that pays teachers adequately.  I am saying this because I taught in England for more than 10 years.  I was a teacher there - after teaching, you will still have to look for another job in order to supplement your salary.  I am talking about a developed country, what more of a developing country like Zimbabwe?  Let us teach with passion in order that our children develop.  The Constituency Development Fund should not be allocated as CDF. Let CDF be dedicated to things like schools, hospitals and roads so that our children in schools will get better classrooms facilities.  The Devolution Funds that are being disbursed to local authorities, we are not even seeing what the money is used for.  In my constituency I have not seen how the funds have been used.  We hear that funds have been disbursed.  They should be disbursed for specific areas like roads and infrastructure development.  I thank you.

HON. NYABANI:  Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MUTAMBISI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 18th May, 2021.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI:  Madam Speaker, I move that we revert to

Order of the Day No. 13 on today’s Order Paper.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE 55TH SESSION OF THE ACP PARLIAMENTARY

ASSEMBLY AND THE 38TH SESSION OF THE ACP-EU JOINT

PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY HELD IN RWANDA    HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move the motion

in my name that this House takes note of the report on the 55th Session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and the 38th Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, held from 14th to 21st

November, 2019, in Kigali Rwanda.

    HON. NYABANI:  I second.

    HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker.

Introduction

Meetings of the 55th Session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and 38th Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly were convened in Kigali, Rwanda from 14 to 21 November 2019 at the Kigali International Convention Centre.

The following Members, Official from the Embassy of the Republic of

Zimbabwe and Officers of Parliament attended:-

Hon. Rtd. General Michael R. Nyambuya, Deputy President of the

Senate and Head of Delegation;

Hon. Priscilla Moyo, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Trevor Saruwaka, Member of Parliament;

Mr. M. Mukura, Deputy Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Belgium;  Ms. Rudo N. E. Doka, Acting Principal Director – External Relations and Delegation Secretary, and

Mr. Mufaro Hove, Security Aide to the Deputy President of the Senate.

The ACP Assembly and the ACP – EU Joint Parliamentary

Assembly considered the resolutions that had been drafted by the three

Standing Committees:-

The Impact of Social Media on Governance, Development,

Democracy and Stability;

  1. Sustainable Industrialisation and digitalization : The Approach and Industrialisation and Digitalisation Policies for ACP

Countries; and

  1. Promoting the Active Participation of Young Citizens in Public Life in ACP and EU Countries.

      Address by Hon. Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Michael R. Nyambuya to the

ACP Parliamentary Assembly on the situation in Zimbabwe

Hon. Lt. Gen. (Rtd) M. R. Nyambuya addressed delegates to the ACP Assembly and briefed them about the situation in Zimbabwe following the ushering in of a new political dispensation under the leadership of H.E. President E. D. Mnangagwa.

He referred to the harmonized Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections of 30 July 2018 which saw various African and European election observer missions being invited to Zimbabwe.  The missions submitted their recommendations on the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe, some of which the government is in the process of implementing.  The Assembly was also informed about how the election outcome was challenged and that the Constitutional Court ultimately declared the ZANU (PF) Party as the winner of the elections.

The unfortunate incident of 01 August 2018 where lives were lost in a protest march and the subsequent setting up of a Commission of Inquiry chaired by the former President of South Africa, Kgalema Montlanthe was also highlighted. The Assembly was updated that recommendations were submitted and the government is in the process of implementing.

The leader of the delegation implored ACP delegates to support Zimbabwe in its quest for the removal of sanctions which have brought untold suffering to Zimbabweans.

Delegates were also informed about efforts to revive the economy through the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP), covering the period 2018 to 2020 with the aim of achieving an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.  Broadly, the TSP addresses improved governance and rule of law; upholding freedoms of expression and association; peace and national unity; respect for human and property rights; political and economic engagement with the global community; creation of a competitive and friendly business environment; enhanced domestic and foreign investment; and an aggressive fight against all forms of corruption.

He concluded by requesting the ACP family to support Zimbabwe as the country moves towards addressing the fundamentals of the economy and re-engagement of the international community.

Official Opening Ceremony         

In his remarks during the Official Opening Ceremony, Hon. Carlos Zorrinho, Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, said that the Forum has a duty to fulfill the aspirations of the ACP and EU citizens. He emphasized the need to draw up a new agreement which is fully compliant with Agenda 2030 and to work in a coordinated manner at all levels to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs) and address climate, economic, migration, social and security challenges facing societies. He paid tribute to the Rwandan authorities for the sterling efforts in organising the session, their warm hospitality and alluded to the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1994 genocide.

The President of the Senate of Rwanda welcomed delegates on behalf of His Excellency, the President, Paul Kagame, and expressed deep gratitude for their presence in Rwanda. He implored delegates to re-think the modalities of the new partnership, take ownership of the priorities and challenges faced by their countries and define solutions. The importance of taking action and implementation of development strategies was underscored. He quoted President Kagame who said that our countries are not poor, but rather are held back by mentalities and the way business is done in Africa.

The delegates were informed about how Rwanda had resolutely taken charge of their own destiny, post-genocide, through a social contract which enshrines the fundamental principles of national unity, rule of law, zero tolerance to corruption and the policy of leaving no one behind. He said that it is up to each country to shape its own destiny in order to meet the aspirations of its citizens in creating conditions and an environment necessary to improve the quality of their lives. He referred to how Rwanda had drawn lessons from its history with humility and dignity and wished all the delegates fruitful deliberations and a pleasant stay in Rwanda. He subsequently declared the 55th Session of the ACP-

EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly officially open.

Speeches

Speech by Commissioner Neven Mimica, Member of the

Commission responsible for International Cooperation and Development - Commissioner Mimica highlighted to the Assembly that the ACP-EU partnership stands for a shared commitment to human development, values of human rights, democracy, rule of law, inclusiveness and solidarity. The Commissioner observed that although multilateralism is under threat, it is the only way forward in tackling global challenges such as climate change.  However, the need to adapt to the new economic, political, technological, environmental and social realities was emphasized in view of the Post Cotonou negotiations.

A new paradigm of development which is inclusive and sustainable, with the SDG framework at its core should shape the future agreement.  The need to forge ahead with a partnership which recognizes the dynamics of the three different regions, with different contexts and different needs was noted.   The partnership will, therefore, have one single EU-ACP Association Agreement, with a common foundation of values and principles, complemented by three actionoriented regional partnerships: EU-Africa, EU-Caribbean and EUPacific.

She gave an update on the current status of the Post – Cotonou negotiations by highlighting that as Chief EU negotiator, together with the Ministerial ACP central negotiating team, she had been able to agree on the shape of the future agreement.  This includes regional partnerships and the text on all the priorities at foundation level, except one. The one remaining politically very sensitive priority was migration and mobility, but good progress had been made and the negotiating team was close to finalizing the text. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly was notified about the expiry of the current Cotonou Agreement on 29 February 2020 and assured that transitional measures had been put in place to ensure legal and political continuity of the Cotonou ACP-EU

Partnership until the new agreement comes into force.

She concluded her speech by bidding farewell to the Joint

Parliamentary Assembly and introduced her successor Jutta Urpilainen.

 

Speech by Rodrigo De Lapuerta, Director - Food and Agriculture Organization Liaison Office to the European Union Joint Parliamentary Alliance.

In his presentation on the state of food security and nutrition in the context of sustainable agricultural production, he highlighted that FAO aims to promote sustainable agriculture and food systems to ensure healthy and safe food for all, while preserving our planet’s natural resources. Given that hunger and malnutrition are on the rise and that 2 billion people, 26% of the population, do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food; and that overweight and obesity are truly an epidemic, the FAO has found it necessary to call for urgent and collective action to rethink and transform global food systems.

He alluded to the fact that if production and consumption patterns are not changed for better, healthier and sustainable food, we will not be able to either nourish people or nurture our planet. Agriculture was identified as a significant driver of deforestation, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions, thus, the need to bring together all actors, including parliamentarians, to address climate change adaptation, mitigation, food security and land degradation in a holistic manner.

He pledged the support of the EU and FAO to continue to work closely with ACP countries to enhance sustainable food systems, innovation and women’s empowerment; to strengthen South-South and triangular cooperation; and to mobilise the private sector in the right direction, for instance, Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure and Responsible Agricultural Investments to nourish the people and nurture the planet.

The strategic role of Parliamentarians, according to the FAO, is to approve the right policies, set up legal and institutional frameworks and allocate appropriate resources towards a more sustainable planet.

Statement on Behalf of the President in Office of the ACP Council of Ministers

Oliver Nduhungirehe, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda delivered a Statement on behalf of the President in Office of the ACP Council of Ministers.

The Secretary of State highlighted the principal objective of the ACP group of states in the Post-Cotonou negotiations, which is to reach an agreement that will contribute to the attainment of sustainable development in all ACP countries.

The provisions of Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development

Goals were referred to as the compass for ACP countries. 

In terms of the regional negotiations, the African region will focus on Agenda 2063 as its reference point. Reference was made to the 7th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government who underscored the importance of culture and sustainable development and adopted the key words, “No future without culture.” Inequality was identified as a threat to democracy and peace and the JPA was called upon to address extreme economic imbalances in order to achieve economic development and peace.

Statement by Pekka Haavisto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland, Representing the Council of the European

Union

In his statement, Hon. Haavisto said that Climate is one of the defining issues of our time and requires urgent and robust international action to fight it collectively.

ACP and EU partners account for more than one hundred partners, which is over half of the UN Member States, and should take advantage of this weight to launch the positive dynamics required to create the conditions for more climate ambition and action in 2020.

The need for a strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement fully and effectively was reiterated, following the recognition that sustainable development is inextricably linked to climate action. Youth centred policies are now necessary in view of the rising calls for youth engagement and inclusion for the credibility and sustainability of decisions, policies and activities.

On migration, he acknowledged that this is a global phenomenon presenting both challenges and opportunities but requires global approaches and solutions, including fighting its root causes. Referring to new threats to international and regional peace and security, particularly the growing terrorist threats and transboundary criminal activities including cyber-crime, he alluded that these require multi-lateral cooperation and the ACP-EU partnership is an ideal framework to address them.

With regards to the future framework of the ACP-EU partnership, he said, “This is a key strategic moment to define the basis for further developing our common priorities and for an even-closer relationship that will address the key challenges of each region.”  The Regional Partnerships will be attached to the main agreement as protocols, providing an opportunity to focus on specific issues and concerns of each region.  The African Continent was singled out as one of the main priorities for Europe in the context of post-Cotonou.

Resolutions 

The impact of Social Media on Governance, Development, Democracy and Stability whilst populations across the world have tremendously benefitted from the speed at which information is disseminated through social media, new challenges such as the proliferation of fake news, cyberattacks, xenophobic discourses and even election meddling by ill-intended actors have also been created.  Furthermore, access to social media remains unequal from both the gender and geographical perspectives.  Societies are struggling to find ways to control the negative impacts of social media whilst protecting freedom of speech.  The Joint Parliamentary Assembly agreed on the need for urgent action to set up online defence strategies and to develop media literacy programmes for all in order to fully benefit from the opportunities that social media has to offer.

It is in this regard that governments of the ACP and EU countries were called upon to ensure access to internet for all, through adequate public policies and regulatory frameworks, investment in infrastructure and programmes that target access to electricity and affordable internet connectivity, in particular in rural and remote areas.  Governments were also urged to include young people in internet governance decisionmaking processes and educate them on safe use of the internet.

All parties and governments were called upon to tackle hate speech and online xenophobia and ensure the protection of all citizens in particular minorities, migrants, refugees and women on social media platforms.

 

With regards to disinformation, fake news and fake accounts, the joint assembly recommended that governments and social media companies should collaborate to establish robust mechanisms for countering disinformation, fake news and fake accounts.  Investment in research on digital innovation to respond to disinformation, raise awareness and counteract current trends undermining access to reliable information for internet users should be increased.

The meeting emphasized the need to pro-actively develop online defence strategies to deal with cyber threats.  Other strategies such as putting in place appropriate legal frameworks, promotion of greater cybersecurity awareness and know-how by building capacity to deal with threats were also recommended.

National security agencies were encouraged to co-operate and share information with global partners to find common defence mechanisms to prevent and respond to cyber threats. It was also recommended that they should establish a joint online platform for internet security.

Sustainable Industrialization and Digitalization:  The Approach and Industrialisation and Digitalisation Policies for ACP Countries. Given the fact that sustainable industrialization and adequate digitalization infrastructures are crucial to social and economic development for ACP countries, the Joint Assembly found it essential to create inclusive and sustainable strategies on digital infrastructures in order to enhance manufacturing production, find new sustainable ways to diversify productive capacities, improve the trade environment and investment climate and provide I.C.T access to all.  This was agreed upon in line with global commitments such as the United Nations

Sustainable Development Goal Number 9, which stresses the importance of technology, innovation and access to information and communication technologies for sustainable economic and social development across all industries.

ACP and EU countries were, therefore, requested to urgently implement strategies and policies to develop institutions for inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and digitalisation, so as to increase their integration into the digital world economy through production of goods and access to digital technologies for all, in particular for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. ACP countries, in particular, were called upon to develop national and regional digital start-up incubation centres and innovation hubs, with a view to boosting manufacturing in the Global Value Chain (GVC). ACP and EU Countries were called upon to consider cooperation in the fields of technology, artificial intelligence, automation as well as research and development.

However, countries were also requested to take note of the risks and negative effects associated with digital technologies which account for an increasing share of global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and the generation of waste worldwide which pose health and environmental challenges.  It is in this regard that ACP and EU member states were called upon to strengthen their programmes of cooperation in digital matters and promote the exchange of best practices and effective tools such as the General Data Protection Regulation on data protection.  ACP countries need to develop safeguards and national and international education and vocational training plans to mitigate the social, economic, security, financial and environmental risks provoked by digitalized industrialization.  The EU needs to extend joint actions in digital infrastructure cooperation with the ACP countries in order to upscale capacity – building and technical assistance to developing countries in the domains of data privacy and data protection, with due respect for their sovereignty.

Promoting the Active Participation of Young Citizens in Public

Life in ACP and EU Countries. 

The Joint Parliamentary Assembly noted that young people in ACP countries make up a large majority of the population, and are at the forefront of the fight against climate change.  They are capable of driving the agenda of SDGs and are key participants in the delivery of human development targets and goals, accomplishment of gender equality, girls and women’s empowerment and children’s rights.  The assembly also noted that young people are primarily affected by poverty, inequality, the scourge of unemployment and a lack of opportunities amongst other challenges.  It was in light of the above that the joint assembly noted the need to ensure that they become active citizens from an early age and should be empowered to improve their own lives by representing and advocating for their own needs and interests.

The assembly recommended the inclusion of young voices in the post-Cotonou negotiations and the implementation of the future partnership. The need to strengthen educational and cultural exchanges between students, post-graduates, researchers and those in professional training between ACP and EU countries was reiterated. Countries were urged to invest in human capital and to help young people develop the skills they need to participate in political debate and decision-making processes, while paying special attention to keeping girls in school.

Member states were implored to encourage the political participation of young women and to combat harassment of female public figures both in political domain and online. The European

Commission, European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank and other relevant institutions were called upon to provide microcredit schemes for young people with a particular focus on youth entrepreneurship, make the schemes easily accessible to young candidates, as well as schemes to promote gender mainstreaming and to offer technical assistance and micro-counseling.

Emphasis should be placed on reforming political structures and legislative frameworks to make them more inclusive and motivate young people to increase their political participation. Investment by the public and private sectors should be more strategically targeted with a focus on youth and on creating the highest potential for sustainable job creation.

The need to invest in civic education, encourage and support the work of youth associations, creating youth parliaments and youth councils as consultative bodies in order to increase the political participation of young people was stressed. In the same vein, a proposal was made for the European Parliament to invite young ACP representatives to attend both the European Youth Event and the

European Youth Parliament as observers.

The inclusion of young people in ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assemblies, nomination of candidates to attend the youth conferences of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to ensure cross-continental youth representation and the need to provide financial support for youth delegates on an annual basis, was encouraged. The Joint Parliamentary

Assembly also encouraged the implementation of the African Youth Charter.

Challenges Addressed at COP 25, United Nations Conference on Climate Change 

The Joint Parliamentary Assembly noted the devastating effects of climate change on developing countries, including ACP countries, which has impacted negatively on agricultural productivity, caused food insecurity, damaged infrastructure and has caused floods and droughts.  Member states were in agreement that climate change is an existential challenge facing humanity and that all states worldwide need to do their utmost to fight it.  International cooperation, solidarity and joint action to preserve the planet are indispensable.

The JPA recommended the engagement of non-state actors and actively involve them in defining and implementing climate action policy. On climate finance, member states expressed concern that developed countries’ pledges of financing for climate action in developing countries, from public and private sources, still do not sum up to USD100 billion per year by 2020.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that fuel fossil subsidies are behind 28% of global carbon emissions, distort effective competition and create disincentives to investments in carbon neutral technologies.  ACP and EU countries were, therefore, urged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and called upon to invest more in off-grid and decentralized small-scale renewable energy generation.

With regards to policy coherence for development and the climate, the need to respect the principle of policy coherence for development between development, trade, agriculture, energy and climate policies was stressed. An agricultural model based on local production, short supply chains, small and medium sized holdings and a production system that is both people and environmentally friendly was encouraged.

The EU was urged to scale up its assistance to domestic food production, targeting its support to small scale farmers, access to and control over locally-adapted seeds and natural resources, crop diversification, agro-forestry and agro-ecological practices. Member states were called on to assess the consistency of existing and future agreements with the Paris Agreement and to ensure that existing trade rules and agreements become fully compatible with both the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030.  Commitments in trade agreements should apply without prejudice to non-discriminating policy action towards accomplishing these aims in order to make trade an effective tool to achieve SDGs.

Climate policies should be biodiversity proof and ACP and EU countries should develop ecosystem based approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy.  Given the alarming rate at which the world’s forests are deteriorating, the key role of sustainable forestry and land use in tackling global CO2 emissions was highlighted and member states were urged to step up forest protection measures, intensify reforestation and improve forest management strategies.

In terms of knowledge sharing, technology transfers, disaster prevention and preparedness, developed countries were called on to step up their efforts for collaborative research, knowledge-sharing, capacity building and knowledge transfer to developing countries, thereby honoring the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for developing. Governments, in turn, should invest in capacity building, disaster prevention and preparedness and integrate disaster risk reduction strategies into their sustainable development policies at national, regional and local level.

ACP and EU countries were called upon to mainstream the gender perspective into climate policies and to promote the participation of indigenous women and women’s rights defenders within the UNFCCC Framework.

Youth Conference

The youth were involved in discussions on how to become a successful entrepreneur, the importance of self-reliance and selfteaching.  The conference underlined the importance of the values of hard work, perseverance, discipline and creativity for the achievement of one’s goals.  Three successful young entrepreneurs were introduced as role models and spoke about their experiences.  The Ministers of Youth and Culture and of ICT and Innovation, both very young women, were also positive role models.

Women’s Conference

The Women’s Forum focused mainly on the experiences of Rwanda in terms of the elevation of women to key political and decision-making positions, with key enablers being political will, policies and legal frameworks.  Article 10 of the Constitution of Rwanda reserves at least 30% of decision-making positions for women but their current Chamber of Deputies has 61% women and 38% in the Senate.

Every ministry is compelled to attach annexures to its budget which show how gender allocations have been done e.g. the health sector should demonstrate that infant and maternal mortality rates have decreased.

Political parties are not allowed to discriminate and they have zero tolerance towards corruption.  They have forums such as the Antigenocide Forum, National Women’s Council, Women’s Parliamentary Forum and Women for Women International to assist women, postconflict, with capacity building, confidence building, advocacy, literacy and creating centres for women opportunities.

The major challenges faced by women in Rwanda are lack of confidence and the high illiteracy levels amongst the women population.

Workshops

The Rwandan authorities organized two field visits, one on,

“Sustainable housing and energy”, and the other on, “The horticulture sector in Rwanda.”  The first visit to the Karama Integrated Model Village and to the Mount Kigali Power Station provided an example of the technological development and infrastructure programmes that Rwanda is currently implementing to promote sustainable and inclusive development.  The second visit to Bella Flowers, which is the only rose farm in the country, demonstrated that although flower production in

Rwanda is still young, the sector has immense potential.

        Recommendations

  Recommendation Action Timeline
  Climate Change Given the fact that Climate Change is an existential threat that will spare no country, the relevant portfolio committee should advocate for climate finance to mitigate against the its negative effects on agricultural productivity, food insecurity, floods and droughts, amongst others. Government should be called upon to invest in capacity building, disaster prevention and preparedness and integrate disaster risk reduction strategies into the sustainable development policies at national, regional and local level.

 

2020

 

 

 

  The New Economic Partnership Agreement The delegation to sensitize

Members in both Houses at Parliament on the new partnership agreement which is fully compliant with Agenda 2030 and to work in a coordinated manner at all levels to achieve the

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address climate, economic, migration, social and security challenges facing societies.

The delegation to sensitize  Parliament on the new focus of the new agreement, which advocates for a strong parliamentary dimension. The idea is to focus on greater scrutiny to ensure legitimacy and bring the partnership closer to the populations that it seeks to serve; and to facilitate a more comprehensive and transparent agreement by involving them at all stages of ACP-EU policies

2020

 

    and activities, from planning and programming to implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  
  Promotion of sustainable  agriculture and food systems to  ensure healthy and safe food for  all while preserving the

Planet’s natural resources.

 

The need for the Portfolio

Committee on Lands,

Agriculture, Climate, Water and Rural Resettlement to be a champion on mitigation against deforestation, propel biodiversity debate on greenhouse gas emissions and all things being climate change adaptation, mitigation, food security and land degradation in a holistic manner. The need for strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement

fully and effectively as a precursor to sustainable development.

2020
  On the impact of Social Media on Governance, Development,

Democracy and Stability

Parliament of Zimbabwe, in consultation with the relevant ministry, can put in place appropriate legal frameworks to deal with cybersecurity issues and promote greater cybersecurity awareness and know-how by building capacity to deal with threats.

 

Given the manner in which the media has been revolutionalised due to the effects of social media, which has profoundly changed the way society accesses news, Parliament needs to recommend ways of dealing with the negative effects of social media to counter fake news.

National security agencies are encouraged to co-operate and share information with global partners to find common defence mechanisms to prevent and respond to cyber threats and establish a

2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    joint online platform for internet security.  
  Promoting the active participation of young citizens in public life in ACP and EU

Countries

 

It is recommended that the legislature should place emphasis on reforming political structures and legislative frameworks to make them more inclusive and motivate young people to increase their political participation.

 

The Higher and Tertiary Education Portfolio should recommend the need to strengthen educational and cultural exchanges between students, post-graduates, researchers and those in professional training between ACP and EU countries.

 

2020
  Sustainable  digitalization Policies for ACP Countries  Given that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has already introduced innovation hubs, Parliament has the duty to ensure adequate budget allocations for these centres with the aim of boosting research for innovation and self-reliance and with a view to boost manufacturing in the Global Value Chain (GVC).

 

2020
  Gender Mainstreaming

activities

Parliament of Zimbabwe will carry out an audit to check achievements on gender responsive budgeting; enactment of gender responsive laws; ensuring that family laws are harmonised and aligned to the Constitution of Zimbabwe; campaign and improve awareness against all forms of gender based violence; and improve women participation in politics and decision making. 2020

 

Regional Meeting

The regional meeting of the ACP-EU JPA was held in Maseru,

Lesotho from 19 to 23 February 2020. I thank you.

HON. MUTAMBISI:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

        HON. MPARIWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 18th May, 2021.

On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI seconded by HON.

MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Twelve Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.

until Tuesday, 18th May, 2021.

 

 

 

 

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