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SENATE HANSARD 19 AUGUST 2021 VOL 30 NO 57

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 19th August, 2021

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF

SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have not

received any apologies.

 THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I am sorry, we

were supposed to have given you but I know that the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon Sen.

Mutsvangwa; Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Sen. Madiro;

Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon July Moyo; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Sen. Shava and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon Prof Mavima are in Manicaland accompanying the President, so they are unavailable

                       ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

      HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for

affording me this opportunity to pose a question to the Minister of Agriculture because our farmers in our constituencies are being forced to receive groceries for payment of their cotton. They would prefer to be given money. Is the Minister aware of this?

                  THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON ZIYAMBI): I would want to

thank the Hon. Member for her question that pertains to what is prevailing as regards cotton farmers that are being given groceries instead of hard cash that they would have wanted to receive. Mr. President, this is what used to happen last year. Then COTTCO was not a Government entity but we used to give it some money. We have now reached an agreement in terms of share ownership. Government now has the majority shares so that we are able to give direction and policy as regards the operations of the company as well as  for Government to be able to give money to COTTCO towards debts that are outstanding since last year for the produce that they delivered last year as well as for this year.

Mr. President, you will remember that year-in year-out our President, His Excellency gives out Presidential Inputs for cotton farmers. It is our expectation that once farmers are given Presidential Inputs we expect them to sell their produce so that there is development and empowerment. This year, our Minister of Finance and Economic

Development gave COTTCO money for payment of cotton farmers for their last season’s produce and for this year’s produce. What I am unable to clarify or shed more light is how much was used and how much is now the balance. As Government, we have said that cotton farmers, just like maize growers, should also be given their monies. Our farmers wanted to be paid through Ecocash which is the problem that we faced. It had a limit and that is what they were sorting out so that farmers have bank accounts so as to enable the transfer of their funds through the banking system or bank accounts. COTTCO was going to sort out that issue so that farmers can receive their money through bank accounts or that they have discussions with Ecocash or Onewallet to enable farmers to be paid through that platform. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KHUPE:  Thank you President of the Senate for affording me the opportunity to pose my question.  My question was supposed to have been directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare but in his absence since this is about Government policy, I believe the Leader of the House is capable of answering the question.

My question is, sometime last March on the onset of COVID Government came up with a very good plan of cushioning people living with disabilities so that they would receive stipends because of the challenges that they were facing and at that time they were hopeful that indeed they would receive this assistance, has there been a shift in policy that has caused people not to receive money or maybe Government is just having delays in having these funds disbursed?  If it is just a challenge with the disbursements, when are these disbursements ever going to be made?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you

President of Senate.  The money that the Hon. Member has made reference to, last year we used to disburse it to a lot of people because of the drought that was prevailing.  At the moment, the Social Welfare Department is busy screening or vetting those people that need to be weeded out because we have a bumper harvest.  If you are to observe, you will see that in the past, in the communal lands, everyone was entitled to receive this benefit, but at the moment they are vetting the rightful candidates that should receive.

That is the ongoing exercise.  The money is supposed to be disbursed but whenever it is disbursed, it shall be backdated from the last time that it was paid to the deserving recipients of such aid.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. CHIEF NDLOVU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  How are students going to write examinations considering that for two years there has not been any learning?  Is there a programme to help schools in remote areas because these children do not have gadgets?

                  THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon.

President Sir.  Indeed, since 2020 we have been ravaged by COVID. What has been happening is that when we feel that we are ready to open schools, we were hit by a wave or something would happen and we would be forced because of the measures that would have been put in place to contain the disease, to postpone opening of schools.  It is a fact indeed, as Government, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services in collaboration with the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education decided to urgently bring before Cabinet, an ICT policy that we can utilise to ensure that our learners continue learning.  They presented that and it is now policy that given the situation that we are in, let us move towards ensuring that even the remote schools get connected; they get the relevant gadgets so that our learners can go back to school.

So a detailed response as to the actual plan Hon. President Sir, I can defer to the Ministers responsible so that they can bring it here, but in a nutshell, indeed the Government is aware of the discrepancies that are there and the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services made a very good presentation where he is actually committed to ensuring that we have kiosks that are for free at schools, at centres to ensure that our learners can access internet and be able to learn, but if the Hon. Senator requires a detailed plan of how that will be done, I can so request the relevant Ministers to come and make a presentation to Senate on the plan that they have for our education sector.  I thank you Mr. President.

   (v)*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE:  Firstly, I would like to pass my condolence over the passing on of the late Sen. Timire a few days ago.  I do not know if the Minister of Energy and Power Development is in the House.  I would like to pose a question: are we now experiencing load shedding or it is just a temporary measure because of challenges that we are facing?  If we are into load shedding, may you look into the issue of wheat farmers so that we do not lose our wheat crop as a result of failure to have adequate water that will destroy or will reduce the yield?  Hon. President of Senate, I thank you.

                        *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. President.  I

would like to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for her pertinent question during this time of the year.  It is an appropriate question.  These days we are experiencing power shortages.  It is because we are facing challenges at Hwange Thermal Power Station, where we get the bulk of the electricity which we get from three generators operating or two at other times and with the worst case scenario, we would have none of the generators generating electricity.

Our machinery at Hwange is old and obsolete.  It has several challenges it faces, hence sometime you observe that we are forced to load shed certain areas so that some areas can receive electricity.  Be that as it may, our engineers are busy in Hwange ensuring that they are on top of the situation and ensuring that we get the necessary units up on the grid.  At the moment, we have two or three units that are up on the grid and hence from 450MW that is supposed to be raised from Hwange, we can get to less than 200MW.  So to cover for that deficit, it will become difficult because during this winter period, the demand for electricity is high.

I appreciate the predicament of the wheat farmers.  We are trying as best as we can to ensure that our wheat farmers constantly get electricity but at times some of the things may be beyond our control.  We are trying as much as possible to ensure that they get electricity at most times.  I thank you.

             HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA:  My question Hon. Chairperson,

touches three ministries.  I hope the Leader of Government Business will be able to answer that.  We have witnessed the ravage caused by COVID-19 and each time when we want to get into the next operational mode, we are hit by another wave.  Right now the school calendar for both primary and tertiary education has been completely disturbed.  What is Government policy viz-a-viz compulsory vaccination for all tertiary and secondary children who are eligible for the vaccination?  It has now been proved that vaccines can protect us.  The unfortunate thing is the new variant – the Delta variant is much more lethal to children and if we are going to open in the current situation, we might again fall into another trap.  I thank you.

                  THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to thank

Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera for the good question.  Indeed, like I alluded to earlier on, we have been ravaged by COVID-19 and each time when we feel that things are normalising, another wave hits us.  It is also very correct to say that initially we had excluded children from the vaccination programme because we were under the belief that they are not that affected.  However, recently, we have noticed that children are also affected and we have children that are dying because of COVID-19.  As Government, we are also now revising that policy position on vaccination in terms of children.  It is a very good suggestion that Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera is bringing forward to vaccinate all our learners so that they can go back to school.  What we were doing was focusing on trying to find alternative teaching methods from the conventional to elearning.  I think we can combine the two and also have our learners vaccinated.

It is a welcome suggestion that I will present to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education as an alternative.  We are supposed to go into our third term but our learners were in school from January to March and schools closed.  So it is a good suggestion that I am willing to carry forward and discuss with my counterpart.  I thank you.

               THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Two more

ministers have joined us and these are the Minister of Environment,

Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

*HON. SEN. M. D. NDLOVU:  My question is: what is Government doing about the life of children who cannot support themselves?  They are being abused especially in the rural areas where there are a lot of people that are not seen in town.  In the cities it is better because photos will be taken and exposed in the media that there are some children that are being abused.  The same cannot be said about what transpires in the communal lands.  The majority of such children do not have parents, some of the parents are on separation and the children may be under the care of guardians and they experience difficulties in life.  What is the Ministry doing to ensure that these children have a better life?  Some of these children end up being mentally challenged because of stress and they have no other coping or defence mechanism.  Children are important but they are assaulted, scolded, given nicknames that disturb them such as being called a donkey.  They are degraded and looked down upon as donkeys when it is not proper for a person to be treated that way.

                *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE,

LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE):

Government has a policy that deals with children that are abused. First and foremost, there are workers that are on duty 24 hours a day. They look into such abuse cases 24 hours a day. We have toll-free lines that are dedicated for such a service. Once a report comes through that dedicated line, it is received, be it  a child or anyone who knows a child will have made such a report. All these issues are received and the experts will then look into that issue on how best the child can be assisted.

A few months ago, the First Lady, Mrs Mnangagwa came with a toll-free line that can be accessed using the same numbers to report child abuse. It automatically gets to them and if need be, the police will then intervene or whatever form of intervention that is required, that intervention is quickly done. In other areas, they have received more than 50 000 reports pertaining to child abuse. So, such cases are being reported.

Coming to the issue of funds, we have orphans that are being looked after by relatives but the relatives do not want to look after them and are abused. They can no longer go to school and are abused by being given workloads beyond their age. The Government has several homes that receive such children and are accepted at such institutions or schools and Government sends them to school. Government is responsible for fees payments. Government feeds and clothes these children and look after the children from zero grade up to Form Six.

We want to come back to Parliament and ask that Government be allowed to look after the welfare of such children until they reach university. We have two organisations that ensure that such children can be looked after up to university level and they even go further to secure employment for children. These homes are in most of the towns. In Bulawayo, we have two such places. As we move around, we are seeing that the intake is quite low as they will not have reached the maximum enrolment for the particular schools.

So, we are asking Members of Parliament and councillors that once they come across such children who are in need of protection, they should approach our district offices in the various districts. The children will be sent to school, given somewhere to live and also given food. There will be social workers who are qualified to look after them such that they can even look after them much better than what  would be done by their parents.

*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: My question was directed

to the Minister of Health and Child Care but in his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House. What measures are you going to put in place to ensure that the bodies of deceased people that would have succumbed to road traffic fatalities and other diseases are separated from those that would have died from COVID-19?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I

am not sure why there is a need to separate the bodies. We have trained staff that are supposed to follow the laid down procedures in terms of preventing themselves from contracting any disease that they may get from the dead bodies. So, we do not have a policy of trying to create mortuaries for specific diseases but rather, to train the personnel so that they can handle the bodies appropriately being aware they are potentially infectious. It is just like any medical doctor, they treat any patient as potentially infectious regardless of the condition. So, that is the thrust that we are taking.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: My question is directed to the

Leader of the House in the absence of the Minister of Local

Government. I would want to find out what the Ministry’s policy is with regards to councils, to put mechanisms in place to ensure that the rates that are being raised for the residents are reasonable because residents are up in arms with the astronomical rates that are being increased on a monthly basis. From time to time, they are told that the rates have been increased and the increase in the rates is being back dated to a specific date. What are they doing as a Government Ministry to ensure that the residents are not short-changed?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Rates increases

are supposed to be approved by the parent Ministry, including the budgets of our local authorities. Perhaps, what would have happened is that the budget was presented and the rates increases were staggered and then implemented but there is no rate increase in Zimbabwe that happens without the authorisation of the parent Ministry. If they have a specific council where rates are being increased willy-nilly, perhaps if they can write to the Minister so he can check whether that increase was sanctioned by the Minister. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. What plans has Government put in place to ensure that clinics get enough COVID vaccines because people are going to the clinics but the clinics do not have the vaccines, and people are disgruntled?  

        THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):   Thank you

Hon. President Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  Hon. President, we have a company that deals with procurement of medical drugs and accessories that are needed within our hospitals, i.e.

the National Pharmaceutical Company.  It is also responsible for procuring and distributing to various hospitals and clinics.

The question is a bit specific in that Government has always been procuring but should there be a specific clinic that is short of specific medications, they can then get in touch with the Minister or relevant Ministry so that this can be rectified; mindful that sometimes we are short of resources but we have been having distributions happening from NatPharm to our various clinics.  I thank you.

                      THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Confirm

Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi, you asked specifically on vaccines?  Was it on vaccines or drugs?

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  Do I know Mr. President? I said since people have accepted the Government programme that they be inoculated.  My question was on vaccines.

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. President. As regards the issue of COVID vaccinations, Government announces whenever the vaccines are available.  What may happen is that, at the moment because of what transpired a few weeks back, initially the programme was not readily accepted, but there is now a stampede in terms of vaccination to an extent that people from the urban areas are going to rural areas to be vaccinated.

Government’s intention is to attain herd immunity.  At the moment, we have even requested private companies to engage the

Ministry of Health and Child Care to buy vaccines for their employees.  CIMAS and PSMAS have already embarked on the programme; the sugar-cane industry, i.e. Tongaat Hulet has also done the same. Government cannot bring sufficient vaccines for the entire population.  I am grateful for her question and urge her to be patient.  You have realised that we are importing a lot of vaccines so that people are inoculated and you see the vaccines as they arrive at the airport.  There has been a lot of awareness and people now appreciate the reason behind the vaccinations and because of the high demand for vaccinations, it may appear as if we are having shortages.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA:  Thank you Mr. President. My

supplementary question is; can the Hon. Minister please disclose to us the type and quantities of vaccines that we are receiving in this country?

As a country, we are getting different vaccines so much that people who received the first jab and were supposed to receive the second jab that is supposed to be administered after two to three weeks, have gone in excess of three months without receiving it because they are being told that the vaccine is no longer available.  People are now failing to understand what they should do, whether they should start afresh or continue to wait? Does the Government have specific free vaccines or policies that are used in this country?  What is the policy about substitute vaccines being administered to a person who has received the first jab?  I thank you.

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. President, if you look closely, you will realise that Government was buying two vaccines mainly from China and these are the ones that we are buying.  We had a donation of the Sputnik vaccine from Russia, maybe it is the vaccine that the Hon. Sen. is making reference to, that they received the first jab and have not received the second jab. This is an issue that we can ask the Ministry of Health and Child Care officials to look into.

Currently as Government, we are sourcing most of our vaccines from China so that our people receive the same type of vaccines, hence we encouraged the private sector and those who have their own funding to channel their funds into a single purpose fund so that they can go and buy a specific type of drug.  Once the drugs are delivered, the first and second jabs are administered respectively.  So we are ensuring that we have the same type of vaccines till we reach herd immunity.  We are grateful that our friends in Russia donated the Sputnik vaccine to us and if people were vaccinated with the Sputnik as the first jab, we can then look into the issue to ensure that it is sorted out and they receive the second jab.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President.  The

Hon. Minister stated that some companies are buying vaccines from the Ministry of Health and Child Care.  My question is; when they buy these vaccines, do the vaccine recipients pay for the vaccinations because some people are now in the practice of asking people to pay for vaccines?

*HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. President.  Government

policy is that vaccination is for free.  At the moment, we have said that we are going to open up and ensure that school children have access to vaccinations in order for them to return to school.  In Europe, they are now doing it and I recently saw a soccer stadium filled to the brim with people watching football.

Private companies are coming in with their own money to buy vaccines so that the vaccines are administered to their own work force for their employees to continue working and delivering as companies.  As Government, we are saying that no one should be asked to pay for vaccinations because vaccination is for free.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business Hon. Ziyambi.  I heard on the news that the President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa has been invited by the Queen of Britain to a meeting for African leaders. If that is the point, is there a possibility that sanctions may be lifted for Zimbabwe?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND

INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his question. It is true that the President will be travelling to the United Kingdom.  He is going there to attend a conference of several countries.  The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has indicated that he will be happy to meet our President and this shows that the new dispensation led by our President Cde. E. G. Mnangagwa  (because of the reengagement policy), has been accepted the world over including in countries like America where the American Ambassador said that they were urging the American citizens to invest in businesses in Zimbabwe.  This is quite pleasing and this gives us the hope that the majority of the countries the world over are now aware that illegal sanctions must be removed because they serve no purpose. This vision that you have and that other people have, we are happy because other countries are now willing to work with the new dispensation.

HON. SEN. MABIKA:  Thank you Mr. President, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

What is Government policy on contract signing with regard to ZINARA where councils from their allocations engage contractors to do work on their behalf but they are paid by ZINARA after an interim certificate is raised?  Whereas the delays in payment affect the councils, is it not therefore possible for the policy to be revisited such that the contract will be between ZINARA and the contractor so that perhaps any delay in service delivery is directed appropriately?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank

you very much Mr. President. I also thank Hon. Sen. Mabika for that very important question.  I will start by clarifying the role of ZINARA. I am glad they have actually cited the issues to do with contracts which used to be problematic when it came to the issues to do with ZINARA.  If you go through the audit reports of ZINARA, they were engaging contractors directly, contrary to their mandate.  It is a fund and by that, they are supposed to disburse funds to road authorities.  In this country we have got four road authorities: the Department of Roads, Local

Councils, Rural District Councils and DDF.   Therefore, the mandate of ZINARA is to collect money and disburse money.  In some certain instances, they can actually advance to a local authority and if the contractor has been engaged by the road authority, the contractual obligations are with the Road Authority and ZINARA is not supposed to enter into contract with road authorities.

If you find ZINARA disbursing to a local authority, they will be actually adhering to their core mandate which is to disburse funds to the local authorities and in some instances; they are actually mandated to disburse even 20% in advance. Therefore, the local authority, whether it is a Rural District Council, DDF or Department of Roads, is supposed to acquit that to say we have earmarked this for a certain project and we have done accordingly and therefore these are our returns. I want to thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: I want to think outside of the box in terms of COVID-19. We really appreciate what Government is doing in trying to combat COVID-19.  Hon. Minister, I am worried that there is no medication in our clinics, there is only Paracetamol.  I once visited one of our clinics in my constituency and they were happy to meet me saying that now that you are here and you attend Parliament, go and tell them that we have got no medication in clinics here, there is COVID-19 vaccine only.  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.

President, I want to thank the Chief for the investigations that he did.  I will ask them to look into this issue so that they will also attend to those particular issues and look into the distribution and what the challenges are so that this can be corrected. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business.  The Government promised to give cotton farmers money but the farmers have not yet received this money.  Would it not be better for Cargill and other companies to also intervene because people are no longer interested in growing cotton since they are not being paid?  The other time they were given  very little in the form of

RTGS and were promised that the money would come soon.  However, up to now, there has not been any payment.  I therefore, urge that there be competition within the companies that pay cotton farmers so that cotton farmers do not run away from cotton farming because they have now lost heart.

                  THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I have earlier on

responded and said that COTTCO was not our company initially.  Government had to intervene because previously, other companies were allowed to compete with it.  We intervened because we were giving farmers inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme.  We however, observed that for us to be able to achieve our objectives because of the money that we were giving to COTTCO, COTTCO’s debt should be turned because Government was being owed money by COTTCO.  We then changed this debt into equity so that our shareholding in COTTCO would become much higher.

Therefore, the Minister then raised through Agri-bonds, money for us to try and pay COTTCO.  It is true that last year COTTCO farmers were not paid.  We are busy ensuring that we correct that wrong for last year where they were not paid so that they would be paid for last year and we start for this year on a clean slate.  We are not barring any company to compete with COTTCO; we want it to be an open market.  It is only the grain in terms of maize meal that we directed that it be sold in the small grains sorghum and finger millet be channeled through GMB – that is a controlled sector.

As far as cotton is concerned, it is the wish of the Government to pay all the farmers their outstanding arrears so that when they prepare for the upcoming season, they will be happy to do so.  It may so happen that there could be delays to pay because cotton and maize seasons are the same, so there is a bumper harvest of maize and a lot of funding is required to buy the maize as well, so the same applies to cotton.  Our Minister of Finance is busy trying to ensure that our farmers are paid the required amounts that are owed to them.  I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the HON.

DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No.

62

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PROGRESS ON NKAYI-BULAWAYO ROAD

  1. HON. SEN. NDLOVU asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development to appraise the House;

  1. Why it has taken over 30 years to construct only 35 km out of the 160 km stretch of the Bulawayo – Nkayi Road.
  2. Whether the Ministry is aware that of the constructed 35km stretch of that road, it has exhibited signs of deterioration even before it is commissioned.
  3. When is construction of the project going to resume considering that the community in that area is heavily dependent on that road for their economic livelihoods.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank

you Mr. President.  Let me also thank Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu for those three very important questions.  Mr. President Sir, the Hon. Senator’s question is actually truncated in three parts and I wish to respond to the questions accordingly.

I wish to set the record straight that construction of the road in question has not been stalled for a period of 30 years.  Like all the roads in the country, construction of roads is a continuous process and rehabilitation of the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road has been an ongoing project.  Even after what on-lookers may deem completion, the road shall require constant maintenance.

Mr. President, as you may know and I have no doubt will strongly support me on this one; the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road is a very important one as it is a primary road which links Bulawayo and Nkayi.  It also provides a direct link between Bulawayo City and other productive centres in the sprawling Matabeleland North and Midlands Province.

My Ministry treats each statutory mandate to construct roads very seriously as such roads are the ones which facilitate economic growth.  We are also aware that the road we are talking about is very crucial as it facilitates movement of people and goods such as mining and agricultural machinery to facilitate productive sectors such as agriculture and mining in the Bubi area and of course as far as Nkayi, Gokwe,

Silobela, Vungu, Sanyati and beyond.

Therefore, allow me to demonstrate that the road has not been derelict for the three decades as insinuated by the Hon. Senator.  The chronology of the road rehabilitation activities on this road are as follows:-

1993 – feasibility study for the road;

1996 – construction commenced under donor funding, the Kuwait Fund. • By the year 2000, 29 km of the road were completed;

  • By 2001, an additional 15km were commissioned to bring the total km to 44km;
  • By 2015, 3km were constructed bringing the total to 47km;
  • By 2017 a further 1.5km were constructed;
  • By 2000 a further 5km were constructed bringing the total to

53.5km.

I wish to concede that this level of progress is not the one that we yearn for. However, the Hon Member may know that all roads compete for funding from the national purse. Thus, the major constraint just like on any other road has been funding. That notwithstanding, the road has been earmarked for funding under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2.

  1. As the Ministry, we are aware and fully appraised of the status of the road. As you may know, sometime on 1 May 2021, I toured the road from Bulawayo via Nkayi to as far as Silobela and Gokwe just to appreciate the state of the road at the behest of my counterpart Hon. Minister Nyoni. On 6 August 2021, the Deputy Minister, Hon Madiro together with the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Hon Richard Moyo embarked on a follow up tour along the same road to monitor regravelling of the road on its shoulders. I can confirm that the road which was dangerous to navigate in May 2021 when I toured the road and directed that something be done, is now trafficable. We are aware that the 35km which was constructed and opening to traffic is now 25 years old and has thus outlived its design lifespan of 20 years. In view of that, the Ministry has earmarked the Bulawayo-Nkayi Road for rehabilitation under ERRP 2 in

2022.

  1. Work commenced in June 2021 under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 – road has been identified as one such crucial one which should be rehabilitated. As we deliberate, 70.9km of the same road have been regravelled on its shoulders and we project that by early 2022, some sections will have been reconstructed and opened to traffic subject to funding from Treasury. I thank you.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON DEPUTY

PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 66.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE JOINT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LOCAL

GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING

AND THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON PEACE AND SECURITY

ON THE ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS MADE IN AREAS

AFFECTED BY FLOODS AND ON CONSTRUCTION OF COVID 19

TREATMENT, QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION FACILITIES

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the assessment of progress on construction of COVID-19 treatment, quarantine and isolation facilities.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. KHUPE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 24th August, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE JOINT THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS ON THE PROVISION OF

QUALITY EDUCATION, SANITISATION AND HYGIENE

MANAGEMENT IN SCHOOLS

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move the motion standing in my name

that this House takes note of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals on the provision of quality education, sanitisation and hygiene management in schools.

HON. SEN. KHUPE:  I second.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA:

                 1.0.      INTRODUCTION

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 to which Zimbabwe is a member, as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity without leaving anyone behind by 2030. Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Some of the targets under this goal include ensuring that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. It also aims to build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

In Zimbabwe, huge strides have been taken to ensure equitable, quality and inclusive education through the enactment of the Education Amendment Act 15 of 2019, which addresses key issues related to sexual and reproductive health services, rights for learners with disabilities and sanitation in schools. Despite these strides, the current economic outlook presents challenges and barriers in practice. Some of the challenges include dilapidated school infrastructure, lack of access to educational materials and the unavailability of teachers due to protest in response to low conditions of service and incapacitation.

To this end, the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals resolved to conduct an enquiry into the challenges faced in the provision of quality education, provision of menstrual hygiene management, as a factor hindering completion of secondary education by girls in line with targets under SDG 4.  2.0. OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the enquiry were:

  • To ascertain factors hindering girls and boys from completing free, equitable and quality secondary education.
  • To assess whether the sanitation infrastructure in schools is child, disability and gender sensitive and inclusive;
  • To assess whether the distribution of sanitary wear reached the intended beneficiaries across the country;

3.0. METHODOLOGY

The Committee received oral evidence from Mrs. T. Thabela, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on quality education, sanitation and hygiene management. It is from this oral evidence meeting which compelled the Committee to conduct verification visits:

  • to understand the factors hindering girls and boys from completing free, equitable and quality secondary education;
  • to assess whether sanitation infrastructure in schools is inclusive and;
  • lastly, to establish whether the distribution of sanitary wear for girls was equitable considering the vast poverty gaps between and among communities in urban and rural settings.

The Committee visited the following schools; Mangondo

Secondary in Bikita, Musume High in Mberengwa, Tsholotsho High in

Tsholotsho, Maqhekeni Secondary in Plumtree and Madlambudzi Secondary in Bulilima. The Committee interacted with Heads of schools, teachers in charge of the Health Department, and other staff with relevant responsibilities.  

4.0. COMMITTEE FINDINGS

The Permanent Secretary highlighted that the progress on SDG 4 was measured through the following targets. The salient trends and developments in SDG 4 implementation show that

  • The proportion of secondary schools with electricity increased from 68.9 per cent in 2017 to 73.36 per cent in 2019. The Permanent Secretary also highlighted that the country was on record for massive expansion in the provision of infrastructure for primary and secondary schools. However, there has been pressure on the system due to changes in the geographical settlement pattern as well as an increase in the population size. The Permanent Secretary further highlighted that, currently there was deficit of nearly 3000 new schools, particularly for the resettled farming communities, new urban settlements and peri-urban areas near the major cities. This deficit has resulted in the phenomenon of megaschools in excess of 1000 pupils.
  • The Committee was informed that the proportion of secondary schools with access to WASH facilities rose from 95.8 per cent in 2017 to 97.43 per cent in 2019.
  • The Permanent Secretary highlighted that the completion rate at secondary schools decreased from 71.80per cent in 2017 to

67.35per cent in 2019. The Committee was informed that females had higher proportions of learners who dropped out of secondary school than males.

  • The Permanent Secretary indicated that in 2019, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development disburse $67 million out of a target of $200 million to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to cater for the provision of sanitary wear for girls in schools. She pointed out that the Ministry had delivered the first batch of sanitary wear in the form of panty liners and sanitary pads to all the 2584 Secondary schools (boarding and day-schools).
  • The Permanent Secretary pointed out that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is continuously reviewing its

programming with a view to overcoming barriers to equal participation on grounds of gender, disability, language, socioeconomic status and distance.  She went on to highlight that in 2019, there were 308 681 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) at secondary level. The Ministry has fully embraced the SADC Care and Support for Teaching and Learning programme aimed at eliminating the barriers to education that pupils face through a multi-sectorial approach to service provision.

  • The Committee was informed that the Ministry had adopted strategies for the learners to access education during the Covid-19 lockdown period which include open and distance learning, digital learning platforms, and the use of open education resources. She informed the Committee that through the support of various partners such as UNESCO, World Vision, Higher life Foundation and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Ministry opened virtual learning platforms. Furthermore, she highlighted that they were conducting radio lessons through various radio stations across the country.

4.2. FINDINGS AT VISITED AREAS

4.2.1 Summary of Major factors hindering girls and boys to complete secondary education

4.2.1.1 Early marriages / Teenage pregnancies

Adolescent learners easily fall pregnant during their schooling days due to poverty and peer pressure. This was also worsened by the oneyear break due to COVID-19 pandemic with most school heads noting that the statistics were unusually high during 2020. Although the Government policy allows such girls to continue with schooling when they fall pregnant, some of them were shy to continue under such circumstances. This problem has negatively affected all the schools visited. At Mangondo Secondary School in Bikita, 60 % of the drop-outs were as a result of early pregnancies. At Maqhekeni Secondary School in Bulilima, 13 girls fell pregnant during lockdown and only two of them managed to come back and continue with their education. At

Madlambudzi High school in Plumtree, there were six confirmed cases of learners who dropped out as a result of pregnancy. School authorities indicated that the COVID-19 lockdown which induced idleness contributed to this sharp increase in teenage pregnancy.  

4.2.1.2 Financial constraints

In all the schools visited, another major factor that contributed to school drop-out was failure to pay fees and procure other necessities. The situation was worsened by the recent fees increase by secondary schools. Most parents are unemployed and generally poor. At Madlambudzi Secondary School, there were five confirmed cases of learners who dropped out of school because their parents failed to pay the fees.  At Mangondo Secondary School, they reported that 30 % of the drop-outs were as a result of failure to pay school fees. The Committee learnt that students in secondary school were not benefitting under the Basic Education Assisted Module (BEAM) as this was presided over by Primary School Committees. The number of students currently covered under the BEAM facility at schools visited were as follows, Tsholotsho High School -12, Musume High School – 10, Mangondo Secondary School - 65, Madlambudzi - 102 and Maqhekeni

Secondary School -76.

4.2.1.3 Lack of value for Education

This problem affected mostly schools that are in gold rich areas and those closer to the borders such as Tsholotsho High School, Maqhekeni Secondary School and Madlambudzi High School. Most people are cross border transporters, are well to do but have no or little educational background. Learners therefore, aspire for such a lifestyle and drop out of school. School authorities indicated that learners drop out of school and cross to South Africa or Botswana and within a year or two come back driving good cars.  At Madlambudzi High School, they had four confirmed cases including one girl child who dropped from school and skipped the borders. The Botswana border is porous, with many illegal entry points, therefore many learners illegally skipped the border to find piece jobs in neighbouring countries. Musume High School is in an area with gold and cases of drop-outs are increasing as most children were resorting to gold panning.

4.2.1.4 Geographical factors

This problem affected most schools in the country and not only in

Matabeleland. Most of the secondary school learners walk long

distances to school to access education. At Madlambudzi High School, the school catchment area covers an average radius of 15-20km with 13 feeder primary schools. Learners have to leave their home as early as

04:00 am to get to school and arrive at their homes as late as 7:00 pm.

This is more problematic during the winter and rainy seasons. At Madlambudzi High School, there was once a transporter who used to ferry learners to and from Masendu and Mzwaligwe areas which are more than 15km from Madlambudzi High School but now he no longer offers the service and it has thus affected about 40-60 learners. At

Tsholotsho High school, children from places such as Mubvunzana and Perela areas travel at least 12 km a day to reach school. Some learners stay across rivers and during the rainy season, they fail to cross such rivers and they drop out. At Maqhekeni Secondary School, there are learners who come from areas such as Makumbi, Mazwaligwe,

Garamtata, Shaba and Ntoli areas who travel at least 10 to 15km to reach school. There is therefore, a high temptation for most learners to drop out of school.

4.2.1.5 Child headed Families

Some pupils lack parental guidance especially those whose parents work in South Africa and who are orphaned while most of them stay alone or with housemaids. This lack of parental care was cited as a key contributor to high school drop-outs since there would be no parental guidance and monitoring. This situation has also led to a high rate of teenage pregnancies. At Madlambudzi High School, there were more than 35 known cases of child headed families. This problem was also echoed at Maqhekeni Secondary School. The school authorities at Madlambudzi High School indicated that most of these children from child headed families usually do not have birth certificates and they cannot register for examinations, hence forcing them to drop out of school.

4.2.1.6 Truancy

Truancy can be defined as the action of staying away from school without a good reason. At Musume High School, personnel complained that children lacked discipline. In terms of the Education Amendment Act, there is now no proper way to punish learners since corporal punishment was outlawed. The problem was also highlighted at Mangondo High School and it accounted for 20 percent of the drop-outs. At Maqhekeni Secondary School, they highlighted that some drop-outs were due to alcohol and drug abuse and premarital sexual relationships.  Learners were engaging in sexual activities at tender ages and ended up losing interest in school.

4.2.1.7 Family socialisation and cultural beliefs

The level of education attained by the parents also contributed to school drop-outs. Those parents with low levels of education do not inspire nor motivate their children to continue with school. Divorce and family challenges contributed to school drop-out rates. At Maqhekeni Secondary School, most parents who are uneducated do not motivate their children because they do not regard it as important.  On the other hand, at Madlambudzi Secondary School, professionals especially civil servants were failing to inspire learners in view of the poor conditions of service.

4.2.1.8 Starvation at school

Over the past five years, Zimbabwe has been suffering from the vagaries of climate change, giving rise to erratic rainfalls, flash floods and long dry spells. In a country where 80% of maize which is the staple food comes from small-scale farmers, the extreme weather conditions had severely depleted stocks of food in many homes and school children were bearing the brunt of the shortages. At Tsholotsho High School, children drop out due to hunger. It is critical to note that learners in secondary schools do not benefit from the school feeding programme. The school authorities posited that children across the provinces were dropping out of classes because they cannot attend classes on empty stomachs.

4.2.2 Provision of Sanitation Infrastructure in Schools

The Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at schools is currently provided for in the Public Health Act which is administered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The WASH policy thrust in the Act underlines the challenge of moving beyond simply building school infrastructure and ensuring that it meets minimum standards for a basic level of sanitation service. The Act stipulates that the recommended standard for ablution facilities was 25 pupils per squat-hole for boys and

20 for girls.

Availability of sanitation facilities in schools

School enrolments at schools visited varied widely with population ranging from 320 pupils to 785 pupils. While it is good that the majority of the schools had toilet facilities, it should be noted that the ratio of pupil to squat-hole far much exceeded the recommended guidelines of 25 pupils per squat-hole for boys and 20 for girls for dry systems.  The proportion of non-functioning sanitation facilities was too high at Musume High School, thus worsening the pupil squat-hole ratio. Sanitation facilities in most of the schools were around twenty years old while the average life span of a latrine is 15 years and therefore most of the toilets are almost full. The situation was worse for the girl child who requires more time and privacy when using the toilet than boys due to the biological differences in terms of sanitary hygiene management.

Location of ablution facilities in schools

In all the schools, the ablution facilities were located within the school boundaries. At Madlambudzi High School, the ablution facilities were more than 20 metres from the furthest classroom making it difficult for learners with disabilities to access them as there were no pavements for easy mobility using wheelchairs. The Committee was however pleased to note that Tsholotsho High School have toilets for people living with disabilities though the school had no learner with disabilities enrolled at the time. It was noted that there were no ablution facilities closer to the classroom blocks. At Tsholotsho High which is a boarding school, the ablution facilities were located within dormitory boundaries. The location of the ablution facilities is critical in making a decision to use a particular facility. The ones located far away from the classrooms may be avoided due to the artificial psychological boundary created by their location. Location can also influence open defaecation and urination which are very bad practices.

4.2.3. Menstrual Health Management (MHM): Provision of

Sanitary wear.

Section 4 of the Education Amendment Act provides that the State must ensure the provision of sanitary wear and other menstrual health facilities. The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs T. Thabela highlighted to the Committee during an oral evidence meeting that they had delivered sanitary wear in the form of panty liners and sanitary pads to all the 2584 secondary school (boarding and day-schools).  The Committee established that there were variations on the type of sanitary wear received. Schools such as Mangondo Secondary received panty liners rather than sanitary pads while other schools received sanitary pads. The Committee noted that all schools received their first allocations in 2020 while some had received their second allocation in 2021.  The sanitary wear availed were allocated as follows.  

Name of School Quantity given Allocation per child Criteria used
Mangondo Secondary100 Pant liners in the year 20201 pant liner eachLong distance learners were chosen upon identification by the School Health Committee.
Musume High (Boarding)228 sanitary

pads in the year

2020

 

 

 

Form 1 and 2 received one packet each while form 3-6 received 3 packets each.All Form 1-to-6-day scholars and those who travel long distances were given upon identification by the School Health Committee.

 

 298 sanitary pads and 4 pant

liners in the year 2021

Yet to be distributed 
Tsholotsho

High

(Boarding)

219 sanitary

pads in the year 2020

3 packets eachAll Form 1-to-6-day scholars and those who travel long distances were given upon identification by the School Health Committee.
Maqhekeni Secondary96 sanitary pads in 2020.

96 sanitary pads in the year

2 packets eachOrphans and vulnerable children who were identified by the School Health Committee were given.
 2020.

48 pads in the year 2021

  
Madlambudzi High249 sanitary

pads in the year 2020

One packet eachThe vulnerable, economically challenged and examination classes were identified by the School Health Committee.

 

4.2.4 General challenges faced by schools in the provision of quality education

4.2.4.1 Shortage of learning and other facilities

All schools indicated that they are experiencing shortage of infrastructure and this has been worsened by the new normal of the COVID-19 regulations.  At Tsholotsho High School, social distance has led to shortage of classrooms and also double bunk beds which they had are no longer accepted under COVID-19 regulations. At Maqhekeni Secondary School, there were inadequate classrooms and accommodation for teachers. At Madlambudzi, there was a shortage of practical learning areas for practical subjects such as Building and Agriculture. To facilitate teaching and learning under the COVID-19 regulations, the school has introduced hot sitting temporarily. The school did not have a library facility at the time of the visit which does not instil a reading culture among learners. At Mangondo Secondary School, there was no laboratory which negatively affected the teaching of science subjects. There was also shortage of furniture.

4.2.4.2 Teaching staff shortages and transfers in the middle of the year.

  The schools articulated that the Public Service Commission was taking long to deploy teachers. There was serious shortage of Maths and Science teachers in all the schools visited. At Musume High School, those who retired from the service were not being replaced and when a teacher goes for maternity leave, there were no relief teachers. There were also no teachers for the visually impaired students enrolled at the school. At Mangondo High School, there was only one Maths teacher who was taking only Forms 3 and 4. There was also need for a History and Heritage teacher at the school. Schools in Matabeleland articulated that some of the teachers being deployed in the region were non-Ndebele speaking and this was affecting the learners, especially the Form 4 and Upper 6 classes. There was serious shortage of teachers and some who were deployed had no qualifications. At Tsholotsho High School, there was shortage of Maths, Sciences and Agriculture teachers. At

Maqhekeni Secondary School, they were having problems with teachers who were transferring in the middle of the year while they were taking examination classes such as Form fours. Also rural to urban migration of teachers was also affecting schools in remote areas. Teachers do not stay for more than two years at the school and this affect learners.  

4.2.4.3 Shortage of textbooks for the new updated curriculum

All the schools visited indicated that they were facing shortages of textbooks to cater for the new curriculum. Furthermore, at Musume High School they did not have braille textbooks to cater for the new curriculum.  

4.2.4.4 Inadequate e-Learning resources

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the education sector embraced the on-line learning strategy but not all schools have the capability to conduct on-line lessons. At Maqhekeni Secondary School, there was poor network coverage and internet connectivity. There was no booster nearby which makes it difficult to communicate with learners. There were poor radio and television signals, which makes it difficult for learners and teachers to have access to current affairs. At Madlambudzi and Musume High Schools, there was no internet connection, while at

Mangondo Secondary School the network was down.

4.2.4.5 Unreliable/ poor power supply

Most schools have electricity but they faced challenges of power cuts, for example at Maqhekeni Secondary School, they had no power from January to September 2020.  Electricity in schools is very important in the day to day running of schools because with the current shortage of text books, schools have resorted to printing hand-outs for learners.   

5.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

  1. The Committee observed that one school would require more than 15 squat-holes for it to satisfy its sanitation needs. The ratios of pupil to squat-hole were very high in some schools with the ratio at Madlambudzi Secondary School standing at 1 to 40. This has serious implications on the accessibility of sanitation facilities which could lead pupils to practice open defecation.
  2. The frequency of cleaning ablution facilities in most of the schools was less than three times a day. This was a source of concern as hygiene and the safety of the users is compromised. Cleaning the ablution facilities three times a day ensures that they are cleaned during critical times which are after the mid-morning break, after lunch and at end of the day. Once the toilet is soiled, it makes it difficult for another person to use, thus may force other users to practice open defecation and urination.
  3. Despite most schools having ablution facilities, some had no facilities for persons with disabilities. This can force some pupils to spend most of the time at school without relieving themselves for fear of humiliation and failure to access the ablution facilities without having someone to assist them. This however, causes health complications for them. They could be forced to sit inappropriately on soiled surfaces while at the same time the size of the squat hole can present a safety challenge.
  4. The Committee noted that there were variations on the type of sanitary wear received because some schools received pant liners instead of sanitary pads. This raised concern from the Committee considering that pant liners are not effective for girls during their menstrual cycle.
  5. The Committee observed that most rural schools had no internet access. Furthermore, the Committee noted that access to radio lessons by learners in rural schools was challenging owing to the fact that some areas had no or poor radio and television signals.
  6. The Committee noted that most schools had electricity challenges which however affected the day to day running of the schools as most schools have resorted to printing hand-outs for learners as a way to redress shortages of textbooks.
  7. The Committee observed that learners are travelling long distances to and from school, hunger and starvation, early and teen pregnancies and lack of inspiration from professionals in view of remunerations provides fertile grounds for learners to drop out from school.

6.0 COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should ensure that schools have off grid solar systems to ensure uninterrupted power supply by

December 2021.

  1. The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should ensure that learners have textbooks and learning material for the new curriculum by August 2021.
  2. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should construct more schools, satellite and low-cost boarding facilities in the country to reduce the distances travelled by learners to and from school by April 2022.
  3. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should come up with policy compliance measures that will enforce all schools to have ablution, classroom facilities that are inclusive of learners with disabilities and also the construction of enough and up-to standard ablution facilities so that the country meets the required standard squat hole ratios by June 2022
  4. The Ministry of Primary and secondary Education should ensure that all schools have internet connection to enable learners to access the e-learning portals across the country by August 2021.
  5. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should ensure that secondary schools are involved in selection of beneficiaries for Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) by December 2021.
  6. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should in future, consider the provision of sanitary pads instead of pant liners. The latter is not effective in meeting the needs of girls during the menstrual cycle.
  7. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should establish school feeding programme and nutritional gardens in secondary schools by January 2022.
  8. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should increase rural allowances for rural school teachers in order to retain skilled teachers who tend to shun rural areas for urban schools by December 2021.

7.0  CONCLUSION

The Committee acknowledges that strides have been taken by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education through the enactment of the Education Amendment Act which brings about equity, inclusivity and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all in support of SDG 4.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further underlined the importance of providing safe and effective learning environments and has led to renewed calls to accelerate the upgrading of school infrastructure so that schools can operate safely.

It was clear that the Ministry is walking the talk towards the provision of hygiene management in schools with all schools visited being recipients of sanitary wear, though there is need for regular supply to meet the needs of girls throughout the year.

The Ministry must endeavour to redress the major causes of school drop-out so as to ensure that no one is left behind. The Committee called for the Ministry to be alive to the plight of vulnerable learners and should put in place necessary infrastructure that will not disadvantage them.

Lastly, the Committee implores that the Ministry must redress the gaps that exists between rural learners and their urbanite folks so that they both enjoy the same privileges despite the different environments they live. I thank you.

HON. SEN. KHUPE:  Thank you Hon. President of the Senate.

My contribution will be brief because I think the report that was presented by Hon. Sen. Muzenda covered almost everything.            In giving just a brief comment from my observations, it was very pleasing to note that of the five schools, four were constructed after independence.  I do not want to flatter the Government or to be aimlessly proud.  I can say those four schools are the best in terms of construction and outlook.  The worst school in terms of infrastructure development or maybe it is because it is too old - I am not trying to demean the church that built Musume, but it was in a very deplorable state.  One thing we observed, which may not be in the report but I need to say it, is that there appeared to be disharmony between the authorities who run the church related school and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.  – That was clear because they were bitter and complaining.

I also want to say that the trip, for me, was very enriching.  I think such trips are very necessary. Having said that, I want to thank all those who participated towards the success of the trip.  I thank you Mr.

President and thank you Hon. Senators.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 24th August, 2021.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, second by HON. SEN. TONGOGARA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 24th August, 2021.

 

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