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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 JUNE 2019 VOL 45 NO 59

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

DEATH OF HON. VIMBAI TSANGIRAYI-JAVA

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the House of the death of Hon. Vimbai Tsvangirayi-Java, Member of Parliament of the National Assembly for Glenview South Constituency on Monday, 10th June, 2019. I invite Hon. Members to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Member.

          All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

ICT LITERACY TRAINING SESSION

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to inform the House that there will be half day ICT literacy training sessions for Members of Parliament.  The sessions will be held at TelOne Learning Centre, Harare Show Grounds, in Belvedere from 17th June to 12 July 2019. The training will be conducted in groups of forty Members over a period of three days. An officer from the Information Technology Department will be stationed at the Members’ Dining Hall every sitting day from Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th June, 2019 for registration purposes.  

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

         THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Bills:

·       Consumer Protection Bill [H. B. 10A, 2018]; and

·       Micro-finance Bill [H. B. 11A, 2018].

         I have also to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports on all Statutory Instruments published in the Gazette during the month of May 2019 except for Statutory Instruments No. 106, 113, 119 and 120.

          HON. CHOMBO: I rise on a point of privilege, Standing Order No 68 (d) and 69.  A few weeks ago, Zimbabweans woke up to a country with no fuel, were subjected to long queues and buying of fuel on the black market.  The Minister was requested to come and present a Ministerial Statement, which he did and laid out his plans on how he was going to address the problem.  I had a chance to drive from Harare to Victoria Falls and back.  I was surprised to see most of the service stations were wet, just as he had laid out in his plans.  The situation has tremendously improved. 

I take it there is still more to be done but it is very rare that we get a ministerial statement and the results are immediately seen on the ground.  I would want to commend the Hon. Minister for a job well done.  It is however very sad that some of the service stations like Puma, along Glenara and Glow Petroleum still insist they only want cash and swipe.  Where do they expect the ordinary person to get cash or swipe only?  That is another area that we are requesting the Minister to make sure he addresses.  For now, it is a job well done.  Thank you.  - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  In Shona they say chakanaka chakanaka, mukaka haurungwe.  Hon. Chombo, may I request you to so kindly convey that information where you feel the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development should attend to, if you could do that on our behalf.  Thank you.

          HON. CHOMBO:  I will do that.  Thank you.

HON. MASENDA:  I rise on a point of privilege.  I want to draw the attention of this House to the trips that we had on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill.  As we went round, members of the public drew our attention to the fact that they see us coming with Bills looking very honourable, but when they watch the television on Wednesdays during debates we are not that honourable.  They expressed dismay at the behaviour of some Members of the House during question time.  They said we should convey to this House that they expect us as honourable Members to behave honourably and contribute to the well-being of the country in a good way.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Masenda, I hope that it will come out in your report as well.  The message is definitely very important and we must take heed of what the people say out there concerning the decorum here in the House.  Let us improve, especially when we are in front of television cameras.

SECOND READING

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 1, 2019]

First Order read: Second Reading: Education Amendment Bill [H. B. 1, 2019].

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my name is Hon. Edgar Moyo, the Deputy Minister for Primary and Secondary Education.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me the opportunity to present … - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order may you allow the Hon. Minister to proceed?

          HON. E. MOYO:  Allow me to present the Second Reading speech of the Education Amendment Bill.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am honoured to present to you the Education

Amendment Bill [H. B. 1, 2019].  The Education Amendment Bill which was gazetted on 15th February, 2019 seeks to address the shortcomings of the 2006 Education Act (Chapter 25:04).  The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Education Act (Chapter 25:04), to achieve the following principal objectives:-

·       the right to a basic State-funded education, including adult

basic education in respect of which the State is enjoined to take measures to progressively realise within the limits of the resources available to it (Section 75 (1) (a) and (4) of the Constitution);

·       the right to further education which the State is enjoined to

make progressively available and accessible (Section 75 (1) (b) of the Constitution);

·       the importance of the best interests of the child (Section

19 (1) of the Constitution), a child being a person under the age of 18 years (Section 81 (1) of the Constitution);

·       the rights of persons with disabilities to be provided with

special facilities for their education and to State-funded education and training where necessary (Section 83 (e) and (d) of the Constitution);

·       the right to human dignity (Section 51 of the Constitution);

·       the right to freedom from physical or psychological torture or cruel or inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (Section 53 of the Constitution);

The Hon. Speaker having noticed that one of the microphones was switched on.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order may you please switch off your mic there.

HON. E. MOYO:  The right to equality and non-discrimination (Section 56 of the Constitution);

·       the right to language and culture (Section 63 of the

Constitution) as read with Section 6 of the Constitution which prescribes the officially recognised languages.

          In brief therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill amends various provisions of the Act so that it complies with these various provisions of the Constitution.  It is essential to note that, because the rights are subject to availability of state of resources necessary to enable the enjoyment of the rights, the amendments have been couched so as to take this into account…

          HON. SITHOLE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir!

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order no disruption please.  Please, take your seat.

          HON. E. MOYO:  Similarly, it is also essential to take account of Section 86 of the Constitution with respect to what extent legislation may limit any rights.  In more detail, the individual clauses of the Bill provide as follows.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to discuss the individual clauses of the Bill.   Clause 1 sets out the title of the Bill which is the Education Amendment Bill.

          Clause 2, Definition of Terms

          This clause inserts or amends certain definitions of words and phrases to be used in the principal Act.  For example, Clause 2 seeks to repeal the word ‘Pre-school’ and substitute it with ‘Early Childhood Education’, which refers to the physical, mental and social development of pupils between the ages of four and five years.

          Clause 3, Children’s Fundamental rights to education in Zimbabwe

          This clause amends Section 4 (2) (b) of the principal Act by repealing it and inserting a new provision which ensures that no child is discriminated against by the imposition of onerous terms and conditions in regards to his or her admission to any school on the grounds of his or her nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethnic or social origin, language, class, religious belief, political affiliation, opinion, custom, culture, sex, gender, marital status, age, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status or whether they were born in or out of wedlock.

          This provision is in line with Section 56 (3) of the Constitution on the right to equality and non-discrimination.

          Clause 4, Compulsory Education

          The clause seeks to repeal Section 5 of the principal Act by inserting a new section which provides that every child shall be entitled to basic State-funded education.  The current Act states that primary education is compulsory and it is the duty of the parent of any child to make sure that such child attends primary school.  The new provision places an obligation on the State to fund basic education within the limits of the resources available to it and at the same time ensure progressive realisation of the right to education.

          Clause 5, General Duty of Local Authorities

          Clause 5 seeks to amend Section 8 of the principal Act, which mandated local authorities the duty to establish and maintain primary schools that are accessible to learners by ensuring fairness and equitable access to basic education.  The new provision now places the obligation to provide land for the construction of school infrastructure to every local authority in Zimbabwe.

          The new provision is a good development as it seeks to provide building of more schools in the country by private organisations and well wishers.

          Clause 6, Children’s entitlement to enrolment at nearest schools

          This clause seeks to introduce a new section that repeals Section 10 of the principal Act on enrolment of school-going children to the nearest school.  The Bill states that every child of school-going age shall be entitled to enrolment at the nearest school to his or her residential place.  In the event that the school is fully enrolled, the Head of that school shall certify that the school is fully enrolled and allow the possible next nearest school to enroll the child.

          Clause 8, Prescribing of fees at Government schools

          The clause repeals Section 13 (4) of the principal Act and puts a new insertion altogether mandating the Minister to take into consideration the location and status of schools when prescribing new fees for Government schools.

          Clause 9, Registration of non-Government schools

          Clause 9 amends Section 15 of the principal Act by inserting subsection (7) which makes it mandatory for non-Government or private schools to pay a registration and annual fee as may be prescribed from time to time by the Minister.  Government and faith-based schools excluded from the payment of annual fees.

          Clause 10, Adult education

          The clause amends Section 25 of the Act by inserting paragraph (c) which makes it mandatory for every school to offer non-formal education including adult education.  Thus, the provision ensures equal access to education by all.

          Clause 11, Meetings and procedure of board

          Clause 11 amends Section 33 (1) of the Act which allows the National Education Advisory Board to meet as and when the Minister may decide.  The new provision mandates the board to meet quarterly or any other shorter period as the Minister may fix.

          Clause 12, Languages to be taught in schools

          The clause repeals Section 62 of the Act, which only recognises three main languages as official languages.  However, Section 62 is amended to recognise 16 official languages as stipulated in the Constitution.

          The Bill provides that every school shall endeavour to teach every officially recognised language while making sure that the language of instruction shall be the language of examination.  The Bill also ensures that the mother tongue is to be used as a medium of instruction at early childhood education. 

          Section 62 (2) and (3) of the principal Act is also repealed and there is insertion of a new provision to promote or uphold the culture of the language that is being taught at any school.

          Clause 13, Health in schools

This clause seeks to amend Section 64 of the principal Act by inserting an additional paragraph (k) which provides for the appointment of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) personnel.

Clause 14, Regulations

Clause 14 amends Section 69 of the Act by inserting (n2) which provides for the use of emerging technologies in education and (n3) which provides for the manner in which feeding schemes may be conducted at schools.

Clause 15, Inserts three new provisions in the Bill. 

Pupil Discipline – Section 68A outlaws corporate punishment in schools in line with the Constitution which prohibits any physical or psychological torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  The Bill also bars teachers from beating school children in whatever circumstances.  The Bill supports other forms of discipline in schools and thus encourages the schools to draw up a disciplinary policy in accordance to the standards set out in regulations to be gazetted by the Minister.

The Bill further provides for the right of every child to be heard and have their opinions taken seriously in administrative proceedings affecting them at the schools before any suspension from the school is granted.  This provision is welcome as it recognises the rights of children to be heard based on their evolving capacities and the ability to participate in matters that affect them.  The ‘best interest of the child’ principle is also being upheld in this Bill.

Pupils with disability – Section 68B mandates every registered school to provide infrastructure suitable for use by pupils with disabilities.  The Bill further mandates the secretary to monitor every school to make sure that the rights of pupils with disabilities are provided for and are being met during learning and teaching.  In addition,  the Bill mandates all registered schools to submit a plan highlighting the extent to which the school is advancing the needs and rights of pupils with disability.

Basic Education Fund – Section 68C provides for the creation of the Basic Education Fund whose operations shall be guided by the Audit Office Act (Chapter 22:18) and the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19).  The Bill provides that the fund shall be utilised to finance infrastructure development, payment of fees for pupils who genuinely cannot afford.  The Bill also stipulates that the activities of the fund shall be funded by monies appropriated by Parliament or donations, grants or bequests approved by the Minister.

Non Exclusion of Pupils from School - Section 68D provides a new insertion all together seeking to protect the rights of children to education by stating that no pupil shall be excluded from school for non-payment of school fees or on the basis of pregnancy.

The provision places an obligation on school authorities to ensure that pregnant girls are allowed to continue with their education regardless of their status while at the same time ensuring that no child is sent back home for non-payment of fees which is the parent’s responsibility and not the child.  This provision attempts to address the social imbalances that currently exist in the Zimbabwe context.  Article 11 of the African Charter has been applauded for making provisions that cater for the disadvantaged groups by obliging member States to take affirmative action and measures which protect the female, disadvantaged and gifted children.

Before I conclude, Mr. Speaker Sir, let me acknowledge the invaluable interactions which we have had with the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education which can only make education in Zimbabwe a lot better.

In conclusion, the enactment of the Bill is expected to improve access to both primary and secondary education in Zimbabwe.  The Education Amendment Bill presents changes in primary and secondary schools which will result in greater education in the country.  Of major importance is the right to a basic state funded education including adult basic education whereby the State is being obliged to put in place reasonable measures to ensure progressive realisation of the education right within the limit of the resources available to it. 

In addition, the Bill recognises the importance of the ‘best interest of the child’ principle and the rights of persons with disability in the education sector.  Therefore, there is urgent need to ensure that the Bill sees the light of day and enhance the legislative framework in the education sector.  I thank you

HON. MISIHAIRAMBWI-MUSHONGA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Please allow me to make the presentation of our Committee’s report to the Bill as presented by the Minister.  Let me start by thanking my Committee Members and by thanking them for the commitment that they showed during the time that we had our public hearings on this Education Amendment Bill.  Let me also start with the positive part on my report.  The positive part, Madam Speaker, is that we have had a very good and very supporting relationship with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, both from the time the Bill was at its inception and when it was still around principles. 

The Permanent Secretary and her team spent three days with us in Kadoma to speak to what they intended to bring to this particular House and I think this is a very positive move and a change from what we have known Ministers to do.  As late as yesterday, myself and the Deputy Minster had close to about three hours meeting, discussing around the issues of this particular amendment Bill and I just want to thank the Ministry for being as positive and for being as engaging as they have been.

Having said so, Madam Speaker, let me also raise a negative issue.  I speak today and I am a bit disappointed that ZBC is not here today, not because I wanted them to cover me as I speak, but I wanted them to hear this particular comment that I am going to give.  As part of our engagement as a Committee, we engaged with UNICEF to support us to ensure that the public had enough information around this Bill.  So one of the things were that we engaged with a young woman, very active young woman from ZBC who runs a programme called ‘Identities Imhlobo’ and had done a fantastic  programme around just speaking to what this Bill is about a month ago and UNICEF had agreed to pay and to sponsor for that particular session.

I am disappointed, Madam Speaker, that as I speak to you now, that particular programme was blocked and my understanding was that it was blocked first because somebody at ZBC said it was politically incorrect for them to air a programme that supposedly had someone from the opposition.   When this was raised with me, in trying to compromise and ensure that both voices were heard, I raised - [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – I do not think you want to go with me that direction.  Do not even go there.

The second issue, I then decided that I was going to bring a different voice from my Committee so that it would not only be my voice, but the voice of somebody else from the Committee.  Although you know generally Committees in Parliament do not operate on the basis of which political party you are coming from, but I wanted to understand where ZBC was coming from.  So I said okay, I will give you a member from the Committee who is not necessarily from my party and I asked Hon. Madhuku to go and be featured in that particular programme, but that was not enough either.  ZBC has continued to refuse to air that particular programme on the basis that the Ministry or the Minister is not part of it. 

I raise this very seriously Hon. Speaker because it raises issues around the independence of Parliament.  When you send us to go and do public hearings, we are bringing the voices of people that we are going to speak to.  It is not the Executive’s prerogative to be speaking on the issues that we are talking about and for ZBC to be taking the position that they are taking is a very disappointing issue.  It raises further political issues which I think His Excellency needs to think seriously about because there must be a disconnect between our reforms agenda; our opening up and what is actually happening on the ground.

          I am glad that I spoke to the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Mangwana before I came here and indicated to him that I was going to raise this as a particular subject; as an area of deep concern.  This is why I am saying to you I would have wanted ZBC to be here today.   I would have given you the names of the people who said they were not going to air it but unfortunately, one of the people is a woman and generally I am sensitive about bringing women and putting their heads on the block.  So, I will serve her for now but I am hoping that ZBC will really go back and have a relook on this because it raises major issues around where we are going to go. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: An Hon. Member stood up at the beginning of this Session and raised the issue around what people were saying at the public hearings and I must repeat that. I think increasingly, we heard this conversation on the public hearings that there was an appreciation of the way we conduct ourselves at public hearings but there were concerns around how we do our business around our presentation  here and I think I just want to underline that particular issue. 

When we went around for these public hearings, we engaged with civic society and you will see the numbers because I am going to do a Power Point presentation.  The numbers were very good, not only in terms of people being very passionate around the education issue which is not reflected in this House at this particular point in time.  Where we were meeting, people were really committed to the issue of education and education of their children.  I think we need to begin to say to ourselves when we operate and we are going to do public hearings, we need to change the strategy around our public hearings because I have sat in other Committees and we have public hearings where there are only 10 or 15 people that came but in this instance, our public hearings were attended at times by more than 600 people.  I therefore want to acknowledge civic society organisations that were part of this, ECOS in particular, WOZA, Taggle Life and Katswe, they came out in their numbers to support us.  Deaf Zimbabwe brought people with disabilities and I just want to thank them for a fantastic job in mobilising and raising issues.

          I will now go straight to what came out.  We gave a report – [ HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga having been exchanging words with Hon. Members.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members. Hon. Misihairabwi, address the Chair.   Hon. Misihairabwi may you continue.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, I am going to start so that we understand the kind of person that we are talking about.  You will find that on the screen, unfortunately our audio is not compatible.  This picture is just to prove to you the kind of person that we are talking about.  This is the life of a girl child, she is staying in that thing that is behind her and is basically the home to which she lives.  She shares that particular home with her father.  It is just one place with those gander poles.  I say this Madam Speaker so that as we begin to look at the submissions that people were making, we need to contextualise it. 

          One of the things that we struggled with as a Committee was to balance the ideals that the Minister has been talking about on what we are now giving the alignment; the rights that we are moving from the Constitution to this particular Bill.  This alignment does not make sense in the context of the lived realities that a young person – a girl for that matter is going through.  I would have wanted you to hear her speak about where she lives and the problems that she has but unfortunately our audio is not okay.  So we will move on to the next slide; apparently the quality of our videos cannot translate into the internal things that are here.

          The second video is just showing you the kind of people that came to our hearings.  Particularly, we had a lot of people that came with disability; you can see people that came in their wheelchairs; so you will hear me speak a lot around the submissions that were put in by people with disability.  On the next slide; that is one of our public hearings that we had here in this Parliament.  Unfortunately, also the voices you would not be able to hear but this is a very passionate presentation that was given by one of the members that were coming from the union of teachers.

          You will find that one of the things that we had in this Bill and one of the consultations that we had was with the unions and the unions raised a very particular issue - the Minister also raised this issue in his presentation that this Bill is trying to deal and bring the best interest of the child.  However, teachers were very clear that if you talk about the best interest of the child and not necessarily the best interest of the teacher, you are not doing much.  So, you will find that when we do come up with our recommendations and our amendments, we are going to be speaking very clearly about the need to look at the conditions of service of teachers because otherwise we will have this ideal look for the things that we want in education but if we do not deal with the person that is supposed to deliver the ideals, it will not work.

          Next slide- I will not take much time on the issues around the introduction because I have already spoken to you around the issues that were raised around the issues of memorandum.  I will rush to the issue around definition of terms.  We spoke around issues of definition of terms and because we are talking about an alignment; we are talking about taking things from the Constitution and giving them life in this amendment.  One of the things that was raised during submissions was the issue of defining who a child is, and to take the definition as defined by the Constitution into the Act so that there is no ambiguity on the definition of who a child is.

          We also felt that it was important to deal with the issue of what a Government school is, given the fact that we have got Council and Government aided schools like prison or police schools.  You need to define whether those will come under the ambit of a Government school.  Then of course, there are terms around the basic State-funded education and Basic Education, including issues of faith-based organisation and registered schools. 

          I will speak a little bit on faith-based organisation.  One of the things that became very clear during our public hearing was lack of an ideological conversation on who is or is not elite.  We seemingly think that everything that is faith-based is at a lower level, yet we have faith-based schools which are elitist.  For example, Hellenic School, it is faith-based because it is a Greek-based education school.  That in itself becomes a problem.  We also dealt with issues around zoning of schools and the need to begin to ensure…

          Hon. Members having been speaking at the top of their voices.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, please may you lower your voices.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker my light is going on but you know that 10 or so of my minutes got used up as I was being shouted at to not speak. 

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are left with five minutes Hon. Member.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I think that is a bit unfair.  The issue of progressive realisation of the right to basic State-education; we felt that we need to pick that and ensure that it becomes part of the preamble to the issues that we are going to talk about.  This is so that as we begin to talk about inclusive education and who we are bringing and progressive realization, it is as reflected in our Constitution.  However, when we give it life in this particular Act, we have said to the Ministry, it needs to begin to show how it is going to phase it.  If they start by starting 3Ps so that they start with the resettlement schools – progressive should say, ‘at a particular time, we are expecting everybody to have free education, because for us that is the ultimate. 

          Madam Speaker, just to say to you, we are the only country in the SADC region that is not giving universal primary education.  So we need to be moving towards providing free primary education.  Having said so, as my time is limited; I will not go away without raising the issue around sanitary wear.  It came out as a major submission and it was important that we include it in the Act.  We are not saying for everybody but progressively, beginning to ensure the availability of sanitary wear. The issue of disability was heart-rending.  People with disability have major problems and I think the issue of disability should find itself specifically within the Act.  Yesterday when we had discussions with the Minister, there was an agreement that we need to do so.

          The issue of corporal punishment was a hot-potato.  We got Bibles and verses on corporal punishment and we understand where people are coming from.  However, I think it is balancing the fact that we already have jurisprudence on that.  The Constitutional Court has ruled on it and if we were to push for it, it would either be ultra vires the Constitution and the PLC would give us an adverse report.  Worse still, even if we were to agree here, the Constitutional Court has set precedence and it would not stand.  So the position of the Committee is that corporal punishment goes out of schools.

          There was also the issue which was a hot potato on pregnant girls being allowed back into school.  There was a debate within my Committee with different views.  I think the general thing is that most of these girls are not getting pregnant by their peers but from old men. Grandfathers are the ones abusing these children.  So if we were going to victimise them for getting pregnant and stopping them from going to school and having an opportunity to proceed, what are we talking about?  Therefore, we ask Hon. Members when they look at this provision to balance and understand that we need our girl-child to be empowered, and getting them out of school may not be the best thing.  I know I may not be the most popular person after having said this because the public submissions were contrary to the issue of keeping the girls in school.  However, I would like to beg everybody else to understand that doing so would be to punish this child more times than is necessary.

          Finally Madam Speaker, is the issue around the financing model.  You will find that in this particular Bill, there is the issue of financing of these things.  One of the things that became clear in the submissions and from the recommendations of the Committee is that the burden of educating children is falling squarely on our own people and we have to deal with it.  There is a funding mechanism that is in this Bill, but the problem with it is; it is still going to be housed in the Treasury.  One of the questions that we want us to deal with is, can we not take that provision out and create a separate independent education and finance fund that would be funded by both the private sector…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your time is up can you please wind up.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I am going to wind up.

          HON. CHOMBO: I request an extension of 10 minutes

          HON. PARADZA: I second

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much; I am indebted to you Hon. Members.  I would want the Hon. Members in this House to appreciate where the Committee is coming from. We do not have money for education, that is what is simple.  There are no textbooks, there is nothing happening in schools.  Yes, when you come to this House, you get a budget but when you look at the per-capita grant, there is nothing that was given to the child.  So the issue on creating a financing mechanism is critical and integral.  However, the financing mechanism as created in this particular Bill, with all due respect Hon. Minister, will not be able to help us because it is still within Treasury. 

So, we propose that we expunge that particular provision that is looking at financing and create a new Education Finance bill.  I think some of us who have had conversations with some international partners, both within and outside the country; there is a real interest of supporting the social protection area.  We know that we had an Education Transitional Fund during the inclusive Government and we know the wonderful thing that it did in terms of textbooks and producing teachers who were happy to operate.  We really would want to push for that.  One of the proposals that we have as a Committee is that of the insurance, not the one that we offered and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development took away from us. Now we are saying, for everybody who is driving a luxury vehicle, we hit them with an education levy by carbon tax because as a country we need to take money away from the rich so that we can finance the poor – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The kind of matrix that we have in this country in which the rich are benefitting from the subsidies does not make sense - whether that subsidy is of fuel or flour, subsidies should be targeted.  So, the education fee should be financed by those who have money.  Those who are taking their children to St. Georges and those whose children are outside the country at Havard University and private schools and are driving big cars should be able to begin to bring in money on this.  So the basic proposal from my Committee is that we hit those immediately with a tax on education levy.  Anybody who is driving a luxury vehicle and we also know that those that are driving luxury vehicles have probably three of them; they have a Prado, Mercedes Benz et cetera.

          If we have insurances where we are hitting them with a small amount of money, we can have a particular fund to which we can begin to build the education fund.  As long as it is separate with separate board members that are coming both from the private sector and from the international community, I am sure we can do so.  For us that is one of the major amendments.  I must say we have had a very good meeting with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and we are hoping that even some of the amendments that we have will be agreeable. We are hoping that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. M. Ncube will be able to understand that this financing mechanism that we are proposing is in his interest.  He will not have to run around looking for money for education because there will be a separate education financing mechanism.

Madam Speaker, let me thank you very much for allowing me the extra 10 minutes. I also thank the Hon. Members for proposing that I have an extra 10 minutes, I thank you very much Madam Speaker.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of privilege Hon. Speaker.

          THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of privilege?

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I had prepared to raise this point of privilege before I even found that the Order as presented by the Hon. Chair was actually on the Order Paper today. My point of privilege emanates on the provisions of Section 141 which is to do with public access to and involvement in Parliament.  Parliament must -

a)    Facilitate public involvement in its legislative and other processes and in the process of its Committees;

b)   Ensure that interested parties are consulted about Bill being considered Parliament, unless such consultation is inappropriate or impracticable.

It then goes further to give Parliament the right to consult.  I am quite pleased that I have located my point of privilege at a time we are discussing a Bill which also went through consultation as reported. 

     Madam Speaker, the previous week we saw various Committees going through public consultation on Bills such as the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) and the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO). Why I raise this is that I managed to attend, not as a Committee member but as a resident Member of Parliament in Kwekwe when the Committee of Industry and Trade together with the Foreign Affairs Committee consulted on ZIDA. 

The public attendance was poor.  Why I raise this Madam Speaker is that I then managed to share my experiences with my other colleagues who had gone around the country.  There is a general poor public attendance to our public consultation processes.  I also took note of the photos which were being presented by the Chairperson of the Education Committee.  If you analyse correctly no photo was taken with an abundance of people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - 

     The majority of them Madam Speaker, is that there is general attendance at these public consultative Bills.  My point now is that we need to have an administrative introspection of how we are calling for these meetings.  The generality of members were calling for the actual Bills at the point of the meeting, which means they had not interacted with the Bills before they came to the consultative meetings. The majority of the people were expecting us to tell them what is in the Bills so that they could discuss. 

     I therefore propose Madam Speaker that before a Committee meeting goes for consultation, Bills are sent in advance so that at least members can  interact with the Bill and be able to analyse and raise questions – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We are at risk of losing opportunities where we have public involvement as enshrined in Section 141, because the people who want to consult are unaware of the very said Bills which we are consulting them about.  I therefore call Madam Speaker; the fact that we had agreed at induction that we must be able to -

i)                  Capacitate Parliamentary Constituency Information Centre where the public can actually access these Bills. 

ii)               Have advance fliers which actually market these meeting so that people gain an interest and are able to attend.

iii)            Have posters, I am sure the ordinary members of Parliament here are willing to be able to put up the posters through their volunteers so that at least parliamentary Committee meetings are able to be attended in full and we actually maximize on the value of the people who would have attended.  I thank you.

HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chikwinya I have taken note of that, your point of privilege is a very valid point.

*HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker, we went round as a Committee listening to people’s views in line with the Bill before us. I will point to different issues - on the issue of basic State funded education, the Government was considering the fact that it should support education in terms of payment of school fees.  Our anticipation is that the Government must do everything to see that the child is catered for in order to improve the education quality. 

Secondly, on the issue of corporal punishment, this is not good because we want this punishment removed from the schools.  In most schools there are children who end up refusing to go to school because of fear of this corporal punishment.  What we are saying is that beating a child is not the only way of discipline, because other children will stop going to school for fear of being beaten up by the teachers.  So, our submission is that corporal punishment should be done away with.  Beating does not mke pupls pass. Teachers should not blame pupils.  They should blame themselves for failure of using the correct methods which make pupils pass. There is a phrase that says ‘a bad workman blames his tools’. As such teachers should not blame pupils, instead they have to blame themselves.

I also want to talk about exclusion of children in school because of the inability to pay fees.  It is not the child’s fault that fees have not been paid and the child has a right to education and therefore should not be sent home because the parent has not paid fees.  There are some schools that require cash upfront so we are saying this way of working as a school is not ideal.  Every child has a right to education and should be accepted whether he or she pays fees because children must attend lessons.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. JOSIAH. SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. There was a log book all the way from before independence where issues on corporal punishment were recorded and it was strictly outlined that corporal punishment was supposed to be administered on boys.  It was a preserve for girls and it was well defined that it must be done using a smooth light switch on the buttocks.  You would find teachers beating girls on the hands, that was already an assault and they were not adhering to corporal punishment. 

The number of canes were registered and signed for, but looking at it now, you find that in our schools teachers just beat children indiscriminately. They do not even adhere to the rules that are there because there is an instrument on corporal punishment and it also shows what should be done 2hen administering in corporal punishment in our schools. What happens now when a child misbehaves. The teacher simply says ‘go take a stick out there’ and where schools grow gum trees they just go and cut the whip. They are not even defined and hence may end up destroying some of our kids’ physical structures.

If you also look at the issue of corporal punishment relative to the type of teacher we have today, some of our teachers are not teachers. They just came to school because they had nowhere to go. We also made an error at some stage where we said a teacher who comes from a university with a degree is better than one who trained at Mkoba Teachers’ College. In that case, those teachers who came from universities are the people who were throwing stones at Government vehicles. They just came to schools without knowing they should be in loco parentis as they say.

Looking again at the issue of pregnant girls in schools, there is a Statutory Instrument of 1999, that is in schools which stipulates that girls can be allowed to stay in school even when they fall pregnant. The school administration should be able to give the girl leave when she gets to a stage where she cannot continue. Maternity leave is specified in that policy circular of 1999. Now, if we look at it today using our Constitution which even says ‘no discrimination on the basis of pregnancy’, we need to make sure that we sympathise with these girls. After all, the source of the pregnancy is not one; some are raped, impregnated by teachers and others by some of us and at the end – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – you say let that child go home and stay there. At the end of the day, the child will give birth and has to look after the child and we create problems for ourselves. We need to sympathise with these girls.

In most cases, if you go to high schools it is the ladies who go for wars with girls when they are pregnant. They are the first people who start spreading rumours saying  zihure rakatoita nhumbu and that really happens. We need to sympathise with our children because at times some circumstances just come. If you look at disabled persons, some may actually be raped because she is blind and does not know who will have done it. Then you say, let her go home. …

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. I am not well vexed with the mother tongue. I do not know what hure means. Maybe if the Hon. Member can explain for a better understanding what hure means. I am quite serious; I do not know what it means. I was born in Zambia and I have never heard of the word hure so I do not know what it means.

HON. J. SITHOLE: I think we all know they are commercial sex workers and that is what they will be referring to – [HON. MLISWA: So say commercial sex workers. There is nothing wrong. Do not stigmatise them. This is the point. They have a right to be commercial sex workers. Why do you stigmatise them? KuNorton variko.] -

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, the word hure is unparliamentary. Can you withdraw?

HON. J. SITHOLE: Thank you, I withdraw the word Madam Speaker.

May I lastly look at the issue of disabilities? Children with disabilities in our school system must exercise their rights. You will find that if our education system has to make sure our children all go to school then the issues of disabled persons must be considered. There is need for the children to have access to information, use of Braille and sign language. All these things need to be made available. Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to debate on this very important Bill. First of all, let me commend the Committee of Primary and Secondary Education chaired by Hon. Misihairabwi- Mushonga, for doing a sterling job and at the same time, the Minister, Deputy Minister and the Permanent Secretary who were dedicated to this task. I know for a very long time Madam Speaker, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education has always been committed to education and is one of the few Ministers who is very professional in his conduct. Out of the many Ministers who are appointed in Parliament, you can actually say he is very outstanding. Even when he answers his questions, he is professional and does not bring in the political aspect into his discharge of duty. He is a breath of fresh air in this country.

Madam Speaker, Section 27 of the Constitution is very clear when it talks about the importance of education. It talks about – ‘the state must take all practical measures to promote (a) free and compulsory basic education for children and (b) higher and tertiary education’ It talks about “(2) the State must take measures to ensure that girls are afforded the same opportunities as boys to obtain education at all levels”. There is no other section in the Constitution that clearly talks about the importance of the girl.

This section clearly points out that the girl shall be disadvantaged and as a result, the State must ensure that there is equal opportunity that the boy child gets for the girl child to also be empowered in that aspect. This talks about the free and compulsory basic education for children, which is important. There is the aspect of the conformity to the Constitution, comparing with the Constitution and in many times the Government or Executive is seen wanting in complying with the Constitution. Free and compulsory basic education says it all, which basically means that there is no child going to school who should be denied education. This is very clear in that, which means that any school that is denying any child free and compulsory education is in violation of this Constitution.

The problem is that there is nothing that has been done from the Ministry’s point of view to send a circular to even put in the pigeon holes of the Members of Parliament, that there shall be no school that will have a right to send any child home because of failure to pay school fees. The school is not at all prevented from pursuing this through the courts or the parents or guardians who are responsible for the school fees. The danger that we have of free and compulsory education is in the parents or guardians getting away with it. 

Madam Speaker, the entire education sector is totally collapsing because there is no resource. Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga spoke about the funding basically saying that there is no money. There is absolutely no money to fund education. So, the only money that can be there is that of the school fees which the guardian or parent must be responsible for. In that regard, it is important that the compliance of this section of the Constitution by the Executive and school authorities is imperative so that there is no child who is sent back home.

Madam Speaker, if you do statistics and you see how many children are sent back home because they have not paid school fees, most of them do not do well because they have been sent home.  They can be home for two weeks, one month or a term and during that time, they would have missed out so much.  The unfortunate thing is that there is nothing that says, because a child has not been to school for a week or a month, that time must be deducted from their fees.  You still pay the same fees; that is why it is important that this compliance is taken seriously.

 There is a situation where if a child is sent home one week or two weeks, they become a nuisance.  They would be loitering around in the streets taking drugs. There is so much that is happening now.  If you do an analysis of how many kids ended up in the streets, it is because they did not have school fees.  If they had school fees, we would not have a problem of them loitering around.  The moment they start to loiter around in the streets, it becomes a burden to the country and the fiscus.

Just the other day, the Members of Parliament were asking the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare what measures are being taken to alleviate the problem of these kids in the streets and there was no answer.  So, prevention is better than cure.  May we, as a nation, comply with this Constitution and ensure that no child must ever be sent back home because they have not paid school fees.  The repercussions thereof are something that we have failed to deal with.

Madam Speaker, I want to talk about the aspect of corporal punishment – very controversial.  Firstly, there is the aspect of human rights which has suddenly come through. Children know their rights, and they are told their rights at school.  I for one was very naughty at school, I was always caned by the headmaster and that sends a message to you.  For us to totally have a system where there is no disciplinary measures being taken, yes, we need to agree on which sort of disciplinary measure, the caning or certain punishments. We are creating anarchy because anarchy begins at childhood and when these children grow up they will not be contained in any way.  Let us debate on which corporal punishment must be used which we believe is within the human rights so that we are not seen to be violating human rights.

It is also important that the law must take its course to those teachers who bit up children.  Go and report the matter to the police and allow the law to take its course.  The Ministry too must be very clear about what course of action it takes to any teacher who is seen on the wrong side of the law.  So, the debate on corporal punishment is a debate which must continue but for us to say there is no corporal punishment yet the Constitutional Court ruled, it is important to respect their ruling but what sort of corporal punishment did they really talk about?  These are issues that we now need lawyers to get involved in and guide us accordingly that, was it a blanket statement or was it specific and so forth?  One can also challenge and say the corporal punishment that the Constitutional Court refers to, is not at all mentioned in its judgment.  We must be seen equally to be respecting the other arm of the State. 

Disappointing enough, the ZTV; if you look at the Ministry with the biggest budget, it is the Primary and Secondary Education. It talks about the importance of it.  Since I have been in Parliament, I have not seen any other Ministry that has such a budget.  I once chaired this Committee and the budget by then was $800 million when the economy was good – it was the highest followed by $500 million or so.  So, I am quite aware of the work that needs to be done.  This budget is only based on salaries, no capital expenditure, no schools being built, no cars for the schools, no sports gear but just salaries.  so, if this is the highest that this nation puts into, why can it not have priority? It only shows that those who are running the Ministry of Information clearly do not understand the governance of this country. They do not understand what they are doing sitting in that Cabinet.  Any allocation of such magnitude must be given the highest priority because education is key to us being here, it is the key to everything.

So, to me it talks about a nation which certainly does not believe in education, which again contradicts to what Zimbabwe is well known for.  They are not doing the President any good at all.  If there is anything you cannot take away from the former President Mugabe, it was his ability to prioritise on education.  Now, in the new dispensation, we are seeing Ministers starting again to misbehave, to go against the will of the country and the President, by not prioritising what is important.  They are certainly not for the President; they are certainly not for the country. 

ZBC is a national television and anything of national importance coming from this esteemed House must be taken seriously.  For a very long time, the opposition has complained about not being given airtime.  What we see on TV today is nothing; no wonder why most Zimbabweans spent most of their time paying for DSTV than ZTV.  You cannot blame them, it is because of this attitude. We need a change of attitude, a change of mindset.  We expect those who are Ministers, who are equally legislators to behave like legislators too in a different way.  They tend to forget once they are in Parliament.  It is sad because it would have educated people.

Hon. Chikwinya spoke about how there is not enough information given out to people in terms of these public consultations and hearings. These become an avenue to also get to the people in terms of communication but that does not happen – that is blocked.  We are seen to be underperforming, so let on this day the nation know that it is not the Parliament which is wanting but it is the Government which is wanting at the end of the day.  We are doing our role but there are some who are blocking the roles of Parliament and these are Ministers who are supposed to be doing their work.  They are taking politics in a wrong way.

On the issue of disability – that is something that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Even those who are talking are voted for by those who are disabled but when it comes to the aspect of disability, we are seen wanting. We are all insensitive.  Madam Speaker, we do not have a school and since Jairos Jiri schools were built, there is no other school which has been rehabilitated to cater for the people with disability.  The disabled constitute about 10 - 15% of the population. They vote for us, they are our people but up to date, there is not even a Ministry which is set aside for them.  The buildings in Parliament do not even accommodate people with disability.  The Constitution is very clear about coming with infrastructure which supports and complements people with disability but nothing has happened.  It is about time that the Government starts building schools for those with disability.  In these schools which are there, they are merely being accommodated but that is not exactly what they require.  Why can the Government not come up with a policy and say that in each province, in each district, we have one school for those with disability.  It is about time that we walked the talk on this.  We seem to be politicking all the time when we talk about the disabled.  They do not take us seriously and they do not have time for us.  First of all, the Constitution itself, the Disability Act talks about a director general responsible for disability.  There are conventions that we have been part to as a nation to comply with disability but we have not done that.  It is one of the saddest topics that I am becoming emotional about.  In my constituency, fortunately, the Norton Town Council managed to give them land to build their own school.  They were so happy and God willing, that would be one of the best schools for those with disability and so forth.  They need to be given their space, they need to have their own teachers who are equally disabled.  They make no apologies for being disabled.  That is the beauty about them. They are saying, we are also part of this society.  We cannot just do what you can do because of who we are.  It seems they are facing that disability twice as much instead of what they have already.  Let this nation be sensitive to their plight.

I want to talk about the aspect of the languages.  The languages aspect is important and the Constitution talks about 16 languages.  Madam Speaker, for as long as we limit the languages that people must speak, this nation is not independent yet.  Let the Shonas be taught in Shona, even write an exam in Shona.  What was the point of barring Cambridge and introducing ZIMSEC?  It was to conform and to adapt to the current needs of this country or else we might as well go back to Cambridge at the end of the day.  Let the people in their areas be taught in their language. The chiefs right now have a right to say, we want teachers who speak our language.  They have a right to say that.  We cannot be seen being an impediment for them. The language issue is important.  Let the mother tongue be what they understand at the end of the day.  Zimbabweans are so obsessed with English yet if you go to China, you speak Chinese.  If you go to Nigeria as educated as they are, their mother language is critical.  This is the only country which is so obsessed with networking with whites instead of making themselves powerbrokers through their own language.  Until we get to that point, we are not Zimbabweans.  We are so obsessed with speaking English even when one speaks English and do not speak it properly, others laugh as if their mothers are English, as if their grandfathers are English.  Let us speak with the language we want and have exams in our languages too. 

The girls’ pregnancy, oooh that one is a hot one.  There are two ways to address it.  First, Hon. Misihairabwi spoke about the generation in this Parliament of men being the ones who are making them pregnant not their peers.  If we allow it to happen, which I understand again that they must continue with their lives, it has to be a case by case issue because early child marriages is likely to increase.  That is the contradiction because if you allow them to go to school while they are pregnant, basically, you are saying, the doors are open, here are the keys.  So what other measures can be taken to ensure that it is on the increase.  Right now we are failing to deal with the early child marriages, nothing is being done and there is no age here.  We talk about girls, a child who is one year is a girl, we are not specific in terms of the age.  We must be specific in terms of the age.  To me, it is important that we are not seen to be....

[Time limit]

HON. KWARAMBA:  Madam Speaker, I move that the Hon. Member’s time be extended.

HON. CHOMBO:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you, I am very much indebted to Hon. Kwaramba.  We come a long way.  We are from Hurungwe, Mashonaland West.  Thank you very much for that Honourable.  The aspect of sanitary wear, Hon. Misihairabwi is being nice, there is no debate, it must be there.  The aspect of sanitary wear must be there.  With the economy, the way it is right now, where do the parents get the money to give their children for sanitary wear?  Just the same way we find condoms in male’s toilets, sanitary wear must also be made available.  There is no debate on that.  We cannot allow the girl child to feel less important because others are using socks and other using tissues.  Do you know what it does to her?  Her self-esteem is destroyed – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA:  Cow dung.] – So we cannot allow that to happen.  Cow dung, I am told by my good brother from Matabeleland South, the Deputy Chief Whip.  When you see the Deputy Chief Whip talking about cow dung, he knows what is happening in his constituency and so forth.  Sanitary wear is not debatable. 

Madam Speaker, before I finish, the question is how do we then achieve this if there is no funding?   Members of the august House, it is about time we start looking at Bills and talk about things where they are standing.  We shall be known to be legislators who achieved nothing, the problem being funding.  If there is no funding, what is the point?  When I was the Chairperson for this Portfolio Committee, the Budget allocated to them, they only got 30% of it.  What do you do with the 30%?  There is a problem in terms of funding; ultimately, the remuneration of the teachers is critical.  Being a teacher in the olden days was the in thing.  It was the ultimate goal at any student.  Teachers in the villages where we are were the opinion makers because of the value and the position they had.  In the social circles, you could not beat a teacher.  Now they have been reduced to nothing.  You see them squeezing in, getting into buses, pressurising and so forth kuti akasimba ndiye anopinda and so forth.  How can we belittle our teachers like that?  They are busy fighting with the students getting into a bus to see who is getting in first.  How will they be given respect?  We need to have a teaching staff which is respectable, a teaching staff which is well remunerated.  We cannot have a situation where this Bill comes out and yet the teachers are not paid well.  It does not make sense.

Lastly, Madam Speaker, I think what is critical at the end of the day is for various constituencies to be informed on these public meetings.  I support Hon. Chikwinya’s intervention in terms of that as Members of Parliament, we also have forums where we talk.  Once we know that there is a public hearing happening in an area and we are told about it and it is in the pigeonhole, we are able to address that.  Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Committee, the Minister, the Deputy Minister and the Permanent Secretary for the sterling work that they have done, it is not easy.  This, to me is the future of the country.  It is the foundation of the country when we talk about education.  I know that my fellow Members from this side were not too happy with the Honourable Member Misihairabwi-Mushonga but you know it is a history that you have a history from the past but they like you.  They appreciate you and you have done a sterling job.  Thank you very much. 

HON. NYATHI:  On a point of Privilege Madam Speaker.  I am getting a bit concerned because every time, we come to Parliament, you do not seem to recognise Honourables sitting on this side of the House.  I am asking you, we will not always fit together on that side, please Madam Speaker, we really feel as if we come to Parliament just to sit and listen to others speak when we have something to contribute – [HON. ZWIZWAI:  Munofanira kuzviita kuZANU PF Caucus izvozvo.  Ungatongesa Speaker pane vanhu veMDC iwewe.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Nyathi.  I have taken note of your point of order but at the moment, we are giving time to the Members of the Committee to debate first before we open to all other Members.  Thank you.

HON. MADHUKU:  Thank you very much for giving me time to make my contribution on the Bill.  We are aware that the importance of education....

*HON. B. DUBE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  I would like to know which Standing Order supports what you have just said in terms of giving preference to Members of the Committee because the presentation has already been given by the Chairperson and the debate should then be opened to everyone.  I think we need to be enlightened on that so that we know that when our Committee presents a report, we will then be given an opportunity as Members of the Committee to debate before it is opened to everyone. 

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  It is not a Standing Order but it is a practice that we use in this House.  I say so because this is not the first Committee to make a report and practice is not binding and it is not a regulation.

*HON. B. DUBE:  For that reason Madam Speaker, allow us to do things fairly.  If you are saying this is the preserve of Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s Committee that is alright.  We cannot come here to please people. 

When I came in to this august House, the Speaker allowed everyone to debate.  What is so special about this Committee – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order!  There is nothing special about that Committee.  You will be given the chance to debate. 

HON. MADHUKU:  Firstly, I would like to address the issues of access to education.  Zimbabwe’s vision 2030, the fourth pillar also talks about the issue of access to education and the quality of education and also the global 2030 agenda especially SDG No. 4 which says “The purpose is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Let me also hasten to say that education is a public good and also a fundamental human right.  More so, it is the basis for guaranteeing the realisation of all the rights we have as human beings.  Having said that, it is very critical to say that when you want to talk of issues of access to education, equity and quality, equality et cetera, this must apply to all learners including the vulnerable, poor and those with disabilities.

I want to address mostly the issue of the disabled.  I also want to quote our Constitution on, Section 27 which says “The state must take all practical measures to promote free and compulsory basic education for children”  When we look at those with disabilities, I think we have a very big problem as a country because this issue I have alluded to of access is not met.  We have had situations where we have a lot of people who are living with disabilities and they go to school for the sake of going to school no learning at all.  For example, those who are deaf and dumb -they just go to school and sit in the classroom but they do not participate in anything because they are not part to all the discussions that are taking place in the classroom because they are not accommodated in terms of language.  Many teachers do no know sign language. We also have had cases of those who are physically disabled and cannot travel to school for long distances on wheelchairs.  Some of them do not even have the wheel chairs.  They cannot attend school because of the long distances.  We are saying that issue of access is zero with regards to those with disabilities.

It is very sad to note that when we are talking and quoting sections, in the Constitution, Section 75, 51 and 53 – we are not accommodating these people with disabilities.  In my view, I think it is very critical that when we are harnessing resources as a Government to fund the education sector there is need for deliberate bias for the disabled friendly infrastructure.  We have to look at this vulnerable group.  It should be our priority number one.  We have to look at issues of access, quality, learning resources and teaching resources as a baby of the Government and not be left to individual schools. 

I am supporting the previous Hon. Member who made a contribution here to say I think as a Government, we have a responsibility to ensure that more resources are channelled to these vulnerable people and ensure that we have schools that cater holistically for the needs of those with disabilities.

Let me also move to the other issue of the school feeding programmes which our Ministry is carrying out. We are very appreciative of the fact that the Ministry has taken a step ahead in terms of making sure that the children are fed in schools. Let me also point out that what is being distributed to the schools is maize so that the schools can look for the other resources and buy relish to ensure that they feed the children.

          We have a very big problem because I have also made a survey and we have seen that some of the maize which was distributed to schools more than six months or a year ago is there and it is no longer fit for human consumption, because the schools are saying they are incapacitated because they do not have money. –[HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.]- So we are saying I think it is very critical - whilst we appreciate the fact that the Ministry wants the children to be fed, but we have realised that there are some learners who are discriminated against and it is so dehumanising to some of these learners.        

          They are abused because what the schools are doing is that the parents have to pay some money for relish, but it defeats the purpose because we are saying we are giving this grain to people who are poor who cannot afford to get a decent meal at home. When we say let them pay again for the relish which they cannot, so those who cannot pay are discriminated. They sit in a corner or somewhere whilst those who can afford are being fed. We are defeating the whole purpose of saying let us reach out to those who are poor and feed them in schools and not learn on empty stomachs.

          We recommend that when this programme is being carried out in the schools, let it be funded holistically including the relish and not leave it to the schools to say those who can pay for the relish are going to be fed. This is our recommendation to the Ministry to say let us fund holistically and also, if we cannot afford to fund all the schools in the country, let us target especially those schools in the rural areas or the satellite and so on and not give to all schools - even those in urban set ups who are better positioned to fund for themselves.

          Madam Speaker, I also want to talk about the issue of School Development Committees. We are aware that the Ministry has allowed by provision of certain statutory instruments to say that School Development Committees should supervise the running of the schools because the fees which are paid in most schools are public funds because they come from parents. So we are aware that even the responsible authorities can only take up to 10% of the fees which is paid by the parents and the rest is supposed to be looked after by the School Development Committees.

          We are proposing that for the sake of transparency and accountability, it is a very good measure which was put in place by the Ministry to say the School Development Committees have to be there and we support that, but our recommendation also is that for the sake of continuity and to ensure that the SDCs proffer meaningful developmental projects, we recommend that let their term in office be extended to more than one year, because what prevails at the moment is that they are there and elections are done after every year. So, we recommend that if the period of their life in office can be extended to at least two years, then they will be able to superintend over the schools and make very meaningful development. 

          Let me also go to the issue of education funding. We have talked about so many issues, but these will go to naught if we do not talk about funding. The issue of education funding is critical if we are to meet all these goals, objectives and aims, then the issue of funding is very critical. We totally support what the Minister has proffered that there has to be an education funding. We also have to take cues of some of the international best practices in terms of funding education. We need to research about what is taking place in South Africa, Zambia and Angola et cetera, that s some of the international best practises.

          There is a fund, as alluded to by the Chairperson of the Committee that let us create this independent fund which can be beefed in terms of various forms of taxes. In other countries I think they are levying mines and even oil, if it is produced in certain countries. So we have a lot of mines in this country. Our proposal is that we can look at this as Parliament, go that route, and have a small tax in our mines. That money should be put to the education fund so that we make meaningful development and contribution to the education of this country. Madam Speaker, with these few words, thank you very much for according me the opportunity to say this.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

ZANU PF CAUCUS MEETING

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, I have got an announcement. Tomorrow at 9.00 a.m., there will be a ZANU PF Caucus meeting at the usual venue. Thank you.

          HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me this opportunity. I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to Section 10 paragraph (10) which talks about enrollment in schools, which I think - coupled with the original issue, was called zoning. However, by saying the children should attend a school to which they are ordinarily nearest resident to until such primary or secondary school is fully enrolled without expanding the...

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Watson, you must debate the Bill broadly and not sections.    

          HON. WATSON: That is okay. So my debate on the Bill is around the issue of schooling which is in urban areas where certain urban schools are better funded through SDAs and the children who live in those areas - which is what that section of the Bill is supposed to deal with, is that they are being crowded out by children whose parents can afford to transport them from less developed areas where infrastructure and schooling is not as good.

          So if the intention of the Bill is to create equity, what it requires to create, which is also the debate on funding, is more sufficient schooling so that inequity does not revolve around children whose parents have more money against children whose parents have less money.  I am surprised that in bringing the amendment, the Minister did not equally bring to this House, the amendment to the School Development Association Bill which in my memory goes back to the 90s and has never been amended since then.

          An Hon. Member who debated before me mentioned that 10% of school fees can be levied as School Development Levy. That has become a joke because school fees are $15.00 and levies range anywhere between $100 and $300. So we have heard a lot about funding but there are equal measures that can be done through School Development Associations and a lot of schools are funded currently and developed currently through those School Development Associations, through parent bodies. The schools that are under-funded are the schools which have parents who cannot afford that.

          So, what I am saying is let us not use this Bill to create a new kind of inequity in education which is what we had before where we had A schools and B schools. All Zimbabwean children under the Constitution deserve education, free education so that whilst we can talk about funding and we talk about taxes, what we should say in that regard is that the Ministry of Finance needs to shape up on the taxing regime. A person, who drives a Prado may not be paying tax in fact. It is so, not the preserve of the Ministry of Education to ensure that the Ministry of Finance provides sufficient financing for education.

          However, having said that School Development Associations have been and are a funding mechanism to Government schools. They can be utilised but should be utilised in a manner which does not create disparity and inequity.  I would also like to say to my colleague Hon. Mliswa that Jairos Jiri was not the only school for the disabled.  There are two currently in Bulawayo, King George VI and St Francis Home which is a school and a home for the extremely disabled children.  Government seriously needs to look at those institutions and how they are funded so that that is an expanded programme in creating equity for children who are disabled.  I thank you.

          HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Education Bill.  I was one of the luck few to be able to participate in the consultations that we did nationwide.  I am a little bit disappointed that in our Committee, if I may just highlight it, I am sorry to say we do not have anybody from the MDC.  They chose not to participate and they boycotted.  It is only the ZANU PF members who participated in that Committee – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I also want to thank my Chairperson for articulating a very well informed presentation and also  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker can you protect me.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.

          HON. CHOMBO: Thank you for the protection Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank my Chairperson Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for a well detailed presentation of what transpired during the consultations that we did.  I also want to thank the cooperation that we are getting from the Ministry. I would want to make a point that our hearings were very well attended but mostly it was attended by women as you can see in the slides that we have put up and we are very thankful for that. 

          Now, I am starting to go into the detail; on the definition, there was confusion when they say basic education, the question is what is basic education?  Some people would take basic education as starting from grade one to seven, others would say it starts from ECD to grade 7, others would say it starts from ECD to Form 4 and others would say it starts from ECD to Form 6.  So, there was a little bit of confusion and we need a clear definition of what basic education is so that we are all at the same level.

          We went to Matabeleland.  They were very bitter about having the Shona speaking teachers especially in ECD classes.  They were complaining that they have local universities and they have trained Matabeleland students but when it comes to deployment, they said they were deployed with Shona speaking teachers and how do you expect a Shona speaking teacher to be able to teach an ECD child?  So they were very bitter about that.   The language of instruction used when teaching was one of the issues that was raised. 

          We went to Insiza, on the issue of pregnant children, a woman came and demonstrated and she said you parliamentarians, you expect a pregnant child to be sitting next to somebody who is not pregnant.  What if she starts throwing up?  She started demonstrating and she said how will the other kids take it? They saw it as a way of even encouraging other pupils to get pregnant so it was disheartening that it was coming from women.  They were saying they do not support girls to continue school when they get pregnant. 

          We told them that according to the Constitution, we cannot change the Bill.  On the issue of corporal punishment, they said, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’.  They gave us examples in the Unites States where corporal punishment was abolished and right now they are clamouring to get back corporal punishment into the system.   If you look at our school children, they are well behaved and if we remove corporal punishment, it is not wise for us, we cannot go that route.    We cannot do anything against the Constitution, we told them that. The church organisations and the ordinary persons were against removing corporal punishment.  Even from Harare, there was a gentleman, when we were doing consultations, he was very adamant that they want corporal punishment to stay.          

          Coming to the financing, we want free education but we know very well that we have limited financing.  Looking at BEAM right now, we have an allocation but not everybody is able to access BEAM.  We can go out saying there is free education but do we have the capacity?  We do not have the capacity.  So we are saying let us get outside finance, an independent Financial Bill so that we can get even the dollars and all the well wishers.  It should be separate from the Treasury and that is what the people are clamouring for.

          When we were in Bulawayo, disabled persons came to attend.  It was a full house in Bulawayo but there were disabled persons who could not join us in the hall because the infrastructure was not conducive so they had to stay outside.  All of them were also complaining that there are limited institutions and they only had KG6, the whole of Matabeleland.  Everybody had to get transport to come and attend and when they came, they could not get into the hall because of limitations of the infrastructure.  It is something that the Ministry must look into to make sure that the institutions are friendly to the disabled.

          Talking of basic education, we cannot just give basic education to everybody, there are others who can afford.  I can afford to send my child to grade 1 but the women or the families in the rural areas cannot.  So when we say basic education, there was also a feeling that we should separate who we are going to give the basic education to.  May be we have to identify situations that really need that assistance.

          On the issue of home schooling, it is not covered in the Bill but right now if we look internationally, home schooling is being encouraged. I think it is one area that the Bill also needs to address.

          Generally, in so far as the people of Matabeleland are concerned, we are going to pass the Bill and remove corporal punishment as per the Constitution but they are going to be extremely disappointed if we should exclude corporal punishment from the Bill.  I thank you.

          *HON. MATSIKENYERE:   Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity.  Let me thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga who took us around the country to areas that we have never been to.  Some committees look for urban centres to conduct their public hearings but with Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, we went down as far as Filabusi.  I thank you Hon. Member.

          Parents in the areas that we visited were concerned about the basic education which they proposed should be free from Grade One to Form Four and not up to Grade Seven only.  They also expressed concern over children being sent back home from school because once a child is sent back home, he/she misses a number of school days and that affects his/her education.  So schools should find other strategies of ensuring that they collect the outstanding fees from parents without disadvantaging the child.  In my opinion, I think that children should just be educated for free from Grade One up to Form Four.

          Where will the money come from when Government says that it does not have money?  In my opinion, Government does have the money because they have the 2% tax and if they allocate 0.8% or 0.5% tax from that 2%, I think that it will cover the education system.  So our request as a Committee together with the parents, is to ensure that people get equal basic rights.  There are children who are unable to access basic education and should be supported by Government.

          On the issue of corporal punishment, parents were advocating for an alternative means of discipline.  Parents were requesting that schools should find other forms of punishment.  In Gweru, a parent made reference to a child who was beaten up by a teacher and became disabled.  This can actually happen in schools if we decide to continue with corporal punishment.  Their argument was that no compensation was paid by the responsible teacher.  So they were proposing that corporal punishment should not be administered on school children.

          They were also worried about the issue of the exclusive nature of our schools that leaves out the disabled.  In terms of inclusivity, they were requesting that teachers should be trained to teach the disabled.  For example, the deaf and dumb – a teacher who has been trained at Mkoba Teachers College is not able to teach a disabled child.  So how will the teacher manage if he/she gets to teach a disabled child for example, a blind student as the teacher will not be able to read Braille.  How then are they supposed to assist the child?  So the parents’ main concern was that Government should train teachers in colleges to enable them to embark on inclusive education despite the ability of each child.

          On the issue of the mother language, most parents also requested that children should access elementary education using their local vernacular language because it is not fair to bring someone from Manicaland to teach in Binga.  Their other areas of concern were that some parents… - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

On the issue of teachers, they were concerned about the fact that they can perform their duties well in schools if they are well remunerated.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  Some of the issues that you are bringing up such as discipline and the low levels of education are because teachers are not well remunerated.  So if you pay relevant salaries to teachers, this will come to an end.  Others were actually saying that the difference between the salary of a headmaster and a teacher is not even visible because a child can get to a school and find a teacher who is coming fresh out of training putting on a pair of Pierre Cardin shoes since he/she was being sponsored by their parents.  The headmaster will be poorly dressed because he has a lot of responsibilities and cannot buy himself decent clothes.  So at times respect is accorded to the teacher and not the headmaster because of the dressing.

Hon. Svuure having passed between Hon. Matsikenyere and the Chair.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Member.

HON. MATSIKENYERE:  So they are proposing that when salary scales are being worked on, they should reflect the relevant designations.  The headmaster is the administrator and nowadays most of the headmasters are being given classes to teach.  They have both administrative and teaching roles coupled with other duties.  So they are saying that it is important that their salary scales be properly designated.

Their other concern was that when a parent comes to visit the school, the headmaster has to leave the class unattended to attend to the parent. 

Lastly Madam Speaker, is the issue of zoning.  Most parents were concerned about the fact that it is important for children to access education within the vicinity of their homes rather than for a child to travel long distances.  A child should learn at a school that is within or close to their zone as this will eradicate issues of abuse.  In rural areas, a child leaves home at 0500 hrs and gets to school at 0700 hrs.  They finish school at 1500 hrs or 1700 hrs and get home around 2000 hrs but if the school is within their zone, they do not have to travel long distances.

Another issue is that these children get to school tired and hence their levels of concentration are affected.  In other areas, there are no local schools. So we need more schools in zones so that children can access education.  I thank you for the time that you have given me.

+HON. MKANDLA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am for affording me this opportunity to also add my voice to what we gathered when we went around the country.

We met people who were very excited at the prospect of meeting the Committee because we were looking after the future needs of their children.  We are aware that children can only benefit through meaningful education.  We were delighted to find people at the places that we visited.  In Matabeleland in the Insiza area, we found a lot of people before we proceeded to Bulawayo where we also met a large crowd of people.  In Matabeleland North in the Lupane area, there was also a large crowd.  I would like to applaud my own people for heeding the invitation to attend the meeting. 

A lot has already been said by other Hon. Members, so I will debate a bit about the feeding programme.  The parents in the areas that we visited said that the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should also provide the relish when they take food to rural schools.  They were saying that they get mealie meal but do not get the relish.  Also, where we come from parents are finding it difficult because they are asked to pay $1 for their children’s relish.  If a child goes to school without having paid the $1 they are not given food.  So, relish should also be provided.

On BEAM, Madam Speaker, people were crying a lot about BEAM programme because they were expecting that Government should be paying fees for those children, but they are not paying for them and these children get chased away from school.  So if the child was on BEAM the child is chased away because the parents do not have money, they cannot afford to pay and those orphans that are being looked after by their grandparents, the grandparents cannot afford to pay for them as well.

Now coming to mother tongue, it is important that children should speak their own language.  If I speak Chewa, how then is the child expected to learn his mother tongue?  If the child goes to school and learns Manyika and when he goes home and speaks in Kalanga the child ends up not knowing his own mother tongue.  Government should make it a law that a child in ECD should learn in their mother tongue.

On the inclusive Government, Madam Speaker, there are plenty of disabled children in the rural areas.  Others have already spoken about that.  It is difficult for them to be taught by a teacher who can speak their language, but there should be teachers who are well trained on issues to do with the disabled.  Also coming to classrooms, those classrooms should have ramps so that children can manage to go to the toilet or to the classrooms. There were many children who are disabled who do not go to school.  They stay at home because they cannot access the schools.

Madam Speaker, they are talking of State education.  Someone who has spoken before me has already said that we have street kids as a result of failure to obtain fees.  It is not their fault.  Also, teachers are complaining that their salaries are very low.  Teachers who used to be there years back were very respectable and were committed to teaching unlike the teachers that we have now.  He was earning little and children were performing very well at school.

Teachers should be dedicated to teaching.  It is good for children to pass because teachers were also students at one stage.  Some of these teachers nowadays literally live at the bar.  Even the way he will be dressed, you can tell that he is drunk or he has a hangover.  Our children should lead in education and the teacher also should see that the children do well at school.  I thank you very much for affording me this opportunity.

HON. CHINYANGANYA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the Education Amendment Bill.  I will dwell briefly on the aspect of funding because it has been talked much about.  Madam Speaker, without proper funding mechanisms, it will be difficult to achieve the intended goal of the Bill.  There is need to have a separate funding mechanism that will allow other players like NGOs and other partners to come on board and assist in the funding aspect because if we leave the funding aspect to the Government, this basic State funded education will remain a dream.  It will never be realised knowing that our Government is always crying that there is no money.

I will then speak on the issue of discipline in schools.  Madam Speaker, there is need to have a Government policy on disciplinary measures to be taken because if it is left on the individual schools, we will have a discord when it comes to discipline and it will always be a challenge to school children who will be transferring from one school to another.  So, if we have a single policy in terms of discipline children will know that if I do this I will be disciplined accordingly using this method and it will protect our children. 

On that very same aspect of discipline, Mr. Speaker Sir, when we were growing up we were disciplined.  Why, because there was corporal punishment and we knew that if we misbehaved we would be disciplined accordingly – [AN HON. MEMBER:  That is why you are not disciplined.] -  I am more disciplined than you can ever think of.

Mr. Speaker Sir, in as much as the Constitution has banned corporal punishment, we should take on board the concerns of the general population who are of the view that corporal punishment is really necessary.

On the aspect of suspension of school children from school, previously children would be expelled without undergoing any hearing, but I want to commend this Bill because it has captured the natural justice principle of being heard, then disciplined accordingly.

          On the issue of non-exclusion of pupils as a result of falling pregnant, this is very commendable because most of the time, the girl child loses the opportunity to further their studies because when they fall pregnant, they are expelled from school.  When they want to go back to school, the parents would have lost interest and this will really disadvantage the girl child and in most cases we would have lost a talent.  The fact that we have allowed the girl children to continue with their education despite the fact that they fall pregnant, this is a step in the right direction.  I thank you. 

          HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to contribute on the debate on the Education Amendment Bill.  First of all, I want to commend and applaud the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education for bringing this Bill to this House because most of the clauses which are contained in this Bill are very important as I am going to explain in my presentation.

          May I draw your attention to Clause 15 (68) (d), non-exclusion for non-payment of school fees. We feel that students should not be excluded from schools because education is a basic human right. So, by excluding students from school, it means that the students will be denied that fundamental right to attain education but it is not an offence for the pupil.  A pupil is innocent; the problem lies squarely with the parent or the guardian who would have failed to secure adequate fees for the child.  It is imperative for parents to pay fees for their children. Instead, we are suggesting that some legal instruments can be used to sue those parents or guardians who fail to raise fees for their children.

          I will also turn to non-exclusion on the basis of falling pregnant.  To be pregnant is not an offence Mr. Speaker Sir.  Sometimes, school girls may be cheated or tricked by ‘blessers’ or by the so called boys or men and in the process, if we exclude that child from attending school or from writing examinations, that will be very disadvantageous to that particular individual. We will be ruining the life of the child.  So, we need to commend the Minister for bringing this clause for debate because it is important to ensure that that particular student is allowed time may be to go and give birth then automatically resumes classes.  That is very important.

          I will turn to Clause 14, on school feeding programmes.  School feeding programmes are very important….

          Hon. Members coming from outside having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order, Hon. Members, the two Hon. Members that are coming in, the decorum of this House does not allow you to walk past through the debater and the Speaker.

          HON. T. MOYO: On school feeding programme, we need to commend the Bill for allowing this programme to run in our schools.  It is important. Some of the students come from poor families. If we provide feeding, it means they will have nutrition and that is important because according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychological theorist said for effective education to take place, basic necessities such as food should be provided.  So, it is important to provide feeding schemes in our schools so that students will be able to concentrate and also will be able to be attentive rather than a child who learns without food in his/her stomach.  That student is likely to be affected.

          I now turn to Clause 15 (68) (a) on prohibition of corporal punishment.  Corporal punishment used to be practiced by traditional teachers.  When I am talking of traditional teachers, I am talking of those who use the retrogressive way of teaching; archaic way of teaching.  These days we have new pedagogical and adrogogical ways of teaching – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –      

          HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order.  I heard him mentioning two words and people clapped hands, I do not know if anyone who clapped can explain to us what those two words mean?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

          HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is our submission that students should not be beaten.  By beating a student, it is unconstitutional; it is illegal and it is inhuman.  You are inflicting pain on a particular individual, which is wrong.  So, we are suggesting modern ways of teaching; new approach to teaching that is andragogy or pedagogy that is the only way we can ensure that students are given enough education in our schools. 

          On Clause 15 (6) (a) and (b), on inclusivity in education, it is our submission as a Committee that we need to – for education to progress well, students living with disabilities should also be considered.  The learning environment; the ambiance in a particular classroom must be conducive for learning because some of the students who learn with disabilities, some of them cannot walk, they use wheelchairs; ramps are not in those classrooms.  Also, we are suggesting that for students who are deaf, teachers who are training now in our colleges need to learn to use sign language because if one cannot use sign language, how do we expect a particular student who is deaf to communicate.  On examinations, they should also take into consideration students who are living with disabilities.  Sign language should also be used when examining those students. 

          Finally, I will turn to basic State Funded Education; there is a clause which says that “within the limit of resources available”.  We are submitting that it is imperative for the Government to provide basic State Funded Education, not to give a clause ‘within the limit of resources’.  It should be ‘imperative’ for the Government to provide that education.  With those few remarks, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker.

          HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to raise a few points that the Committee raised from their findings.  I think this Bill is one Bill which I believe needed a lot of consultations.  If possible, I think there was need to consult teachers, parents and pupils separately.  Generally, my fear is that some of the things which are being proposed in the Bill are not very resident in our culture.  This is because education must be premised on the local culture of the people.  We cannot impose certain things that we see in other cultures and pretend they apply, it will not work.

          Mr. Speaker, if you are an educationist, you will understand that there is something called learning or teaching environment.  There is no way you can teach in an environment that is not conducive for learning.  My fear is that some of the things which are being proposed in that Bill, if they are left as they are, we are going to lose what we have acquired in terms of our education standard for years.  What improves the education system is not allowing children to come to school pregnant.  I do not think that is practical. It may apply in other cultures but certainly in my culture, I would not expect a child to be learning properly whilst she is pregnant.

          Mr. Speaker, pregnancy itself, even not for a child, for anybody who is pregnant, is not something to be proud about moving pregnant on the street – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: What?] – what more – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – I am not a woman, I have never been pregnant.  What more Mr. Speaker, to allow a school child being pregnant and sitting with other children in the class.  What impression does it give to other kids and how does that child feel?  If you are really an educationist, do you believe a pregnant child can learn conducively amongst children who are not?  There is a stigma associated with being pregnant as a child.  I certainly believe Mr. Speaker, I do not think allowing a pregnant child to come to school will make her pass – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I do not think there is empirical evidence to support that. 

          Mr. Speaker, there was a case at one of my local schools in Kamativi…

          Hon. Members having been speaking at the top of their voices.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Can you lower your voices please.

          HON. GABBUZA: Five kids were pregnant and some of them impregnated by teachers and were allowed to continue but they all failed because every other child was laughing and mocking them.  My belief is that, if children are pregnant, allow them to go to maternity and be mothers, then allow them back to school and continue in the classroom – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – it is not practical, it does not work.  It might be something like a human right abuse but there are no human rights about allowing a child to be mocked by others whilst she is pregnant.  That child is pregnant not because she is married, but because of mischief and I do not think that is proper – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, may the Hon. Member be heard in silence.

          HON. GABBUZA: We always clamour about human rights but the same rights are what we practice at home, not as human rights but when children are at school, we say, do not beat them up because it is abuse of human rights.  However, when they are at home, we send them to fetch water and gather firewood and at school they are not allowed to do the same because it is now abuse of school children. 

          There was a case in my communal area, in my ward, a local school, the pass rate went down and we investigated. It was mainly because there are some parents who, when teachers beat up kids – I do not think a properly trained teacher will beat a kid to kill them, it is not practical.  Teachers know where to beat and how to beat and mainly it is to frighten the child.  Kids being kids, they are likely to be mischievous.  There is an English adage, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.  It is proven internationally and all over that kids being kids need a mild form of correction. 

However, if you are going to say no, let us not beat them – I was going to tell you an example in my school where when teachers beat kids, the parents would come with axes and knobkerries and beat up the teachers.  What the teachers did was simply say, alright, if I beat your child; this one has parents who are always complaining, so I will leave him/her.  So, the education process tended to favour those who allowed their children to be beaten up or to be given mild punishment.  However, those whose parents came with knobkerries to beat teachers who beat them were left and they all failed.  It does not work in a school set up. A mild form of punishment should be acceptable because we do it at homes.  Would you want a situation like in South Africa, I am sorry to say, where we see children coming to school with guns to shoot each other and beat up teachers in schools?  That is what we are likely to have because a school environment must be a learning one where children are fearful, there is protocol, manners, respect of adults and instructions, all those kind of things.  Kids being kids, if you say no more beating, that is no longer a school. You would rather just close it and call it something else.

Mr. Speaker, there is the issue of a pregnant child – [HON. MEMBER: Tazvinzwa.] – I will repeat that.  Practically, physiologically and biologically, the body of a pregnant girl changes and you do not expect her to learn like a normal kid even if you allow them to continue with class. 

I will go to the issue of languages, Mr. Speaker, the clause that says, ‘schools must teach all languages,’ is not practical.  What is going to happen is; we have 16 languages. The few languages that will be taught are those which teachers prefer and I do not think that is good for the languages which are marginally excluded or have been traditionally marginalised like my own language.  If that is allowed, teachers are likely to prefer those languages where text books are there and where the teachers are there.  We had a case in Mzingwane in the 80’s, where the whole school was learning Ndebele but three kids had to do Shona, in the midst of Matebeleland because they did not want to do the other language.  That is not practical to implement.  You can imagine if every other school had a Tonga child, Venda child and so on, will the Government be able to provide all the resources? 

What I will suggest, is the Ministry of Education clarify this, look at what other jurisdictions do.  For example, in Zambia, if you are in a province where Tonga is the majority like in the Southern Province, whatever tribe you come from, you learn the language of that province – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – it makes it easier or we maintain the current status where – I think the current Education Act was; maybe it is within a policy, it was saying, in an area where the majority speak that language, then everyone else must be taught in that language.  This automatically means that if I am Ndebele and am learning in Mashonaland, I should learn Shona and the same with a Shona child coming to Matebeleland, they must learn Ndebele.  We progress in that manner.  If we allow teachers to choose which languages to teach, most of these languages will not be taught and it will be moving backwards from the gains that we had already made.

What improves the education system Mr. Speaker is not some of the things that are being proposed in the Bill.  Let us look at where we went wrong.  Let us raise the teacher’s conditions of service, everything else will fall in place – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – How do you expect a teacher to be respected and to have order in a school where the children are richer than the teacher?  The teacher would have spent eight years at university but comes back to live in a very small African Tonga hut, he does not fit in and you expect that teacher to be respected.  The teacher does not have food and has to ask for food from the parents of the kids that he is teaching. That reduces the credibility and authority of the teacher.  We wish to go back to the olden days where when the teacher visits your home, you would run around to sweep the yard and look clean because the teacher was a symbol of status, of cleanliness. If there was anything that people did not know or maybe you have received a letter that you do not understand, you will rush to the teacher for explanation because the teacher was a symbol of knowledge.  As long as we do not treat our teachers with respect, yes, we can make all changes and amendments - but the teacher must be looked after.  All of us whether a nurse or whatever profession, we came through a teacher. So there is very good reason for Government to have a special look at the teachers’ welfare.  A teacher imparts knowledge to all professions and there is good reason to advocate for a better package for teachers so that their societal status is respected and they will be able to impart knowledge with a lot of dignity to our students.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank you for the Bill that is before us. As I consider this Bill, we need to come up with legislation that should last and not to amend it again in the near time.  I was surprised that children are now allowed to go to school pregnant, and yet we agreed that there will no longer be pregnant children as a child cannot engage in sexual intercourse before the age of 18.  I am surprised that there are pregnant children in both primary and secondary schools, this should not happen.  The legislation that we pass in this august House will have an effect on us tomorrow.     

          We must ensure that our children continue to go to school.  Can you not see that we are departing from our culture and morals?  The Smith regime did not allow that.  How can we allow that now, the yesteryear President Cde. Mugabe did not allow that and 38 years after independence we want to support this? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members please lower your voices.

*HON. MATAMBANADZO:  We cannot be a good Government if we allow such situations to prevail whereby a pregnant child should enroll in school together with her counterparts, considering all the challenges that are faced by pregnant women, vomiting and nausea and ambulances being called in case of emergency.

If a child is impregnated, it is a mistake and that is what we call an accident.  If case of an accident we say the person should go to the hospital but in the case of the school child, we say she must go home and wait to give birth.  We should come up with legislation that caters for these children, for example if a child was at AmavenI Secondary, I am quoting a school in my constituency, she can only be allowed to go back to school after giving birth that should be allowed but not for a child to go to school pregnant that should not be permissible in this country.  We should maintain our dignity and not lose face with such actions.

I want to tell you about this challenge because very soon we will be debating the Marriage Bill; marriage age used to be 21, but then it has been reduced to 18 years.  In the past, we had a challenge also on marriageable age being 16 years – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Inaudible interjection.] – that Hon. Member is talking too much, she is not listening and yet she is the one who brings these Bills that bring challenges to this House.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we are likely to have challenges in this House because we are allowing things that are not right.   Have you ever considered what made us change the marriageable age from 21 to 18; it was all because of education; they learn different subjects.  What really is making our children wild, is subjects such as biology; I am telling you Mr. Speaker, though I am a grade 2 drop out.  Biology has confused our children and as long as our children at the age of 16 are taught Biology, they are affected.  

A teacher teaches a subject that he/she has passion for. Now, when some of these teaches are lecturing subjects that they are expects in, they do it in such a way that it seems so real that children end up being affected and from there they are aroused and end up looking for men and women.  So, children will start to learn biology in form 1 and they will know everything about sex at the age of 16. We must also consider the fact that at 16, London citizens are allowed to marry, yet we are refusing our children to marry at that age and yet we are teaching them biology that teaches them about sex. 

We are saying we should not bring such subjects before our children that enhances and arouses them sexually.  We need to move with times and embrace new technology.  Pregnant children should not be in class, it is not possible we cannot promote such practice because in the end all girls will fall pregnant in schools.  We should not allow such practices in this august House. This country is a well cultured country and we should preserve our culture.

On corporal punishment, in short – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker, they want to cartoon me and say whatever they want to say but if a black American comes here and starts talking about corporal punishment with their accent, you clap for them.  I may as well speak fluent English but I just want to be free when I am in this august House.  Let me proceed by saying corporal punishment should be there in schools to punish the students but the teachers should be given parameters by the Government on what type of punishment to administer. Mr. Speaker Sir, all those who are not listening will go back to their constituencies empty handed and they will be told that Hon. Matambanadzo was saying a lot of sense and they will say they never heard anything. 

I want to say that the Government should come up with parameters on the punishment that should be administered by teachers.  We need to come up with a small sjambok for the teachers which they should use and failure to use the recommended sjambok means you will face the heat.  So that sjambok should be made to ensure that punishment is administered on the children.  Even if a child does not get corporal punishment at home, he can be corrected at school.

I want to tell you about children who do not get corporal punishment.  Those children are not well cultured and have a lot of scars on them.  Lastly Mr. Speaker, the various languages that we have, I am against the idea of us teaching all the 16 languages.  I think that is an idea that is not for people of sane minds.  For example in Tonga, if the Tongas do not learn Tonga, they will be disappointed.  So in Binga, they should be given an opportunity to learn their vernacular Tonga and in Kwekwe under Midlands where I come from, there are different languages but we should look at the most popular languages that should be taught in those areas.

For example if there is English, Ndebele and Shona – if those are the languages that are common in Kwekwe, they should be taught those three languages.  So, the languages should be taught according to their geographical and regional locations.  Yesterday I graduated and I was told that I am now a professor.  So, we cannot teach all languages – that is impossible.  I thank you.

*HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.  The issue that is before us on education, we should ask ourselves why people become educated before we consider some of these issues.  People become educated so that they can be cultured and well mannered to develop their nation.  That is the reason why people go to school. 

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by talking about channeling money towards our education systems.  I want to look at the area where I come from – UMP.  We are the only district in Zimbabwe without a Government primary school and a Government secondary school.  So when we look at this issue, there is no democracy in terms of resources and people are concerned.  The Government needs to look into the issue and check to see if Government schools are in the various areas.  Government schools are in their numbers in urban centres but in rural areas they are not there because of unequal sharing of resources. 

In Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, most people there are theologians or pastors because they are learning religious studies, English and history.  So if they want to do law and other professions, they cannot do so because they are only offered subjects that lead them to theology and in the whole area, people have become religious. 

The issue of religion is not something out of this world.  Churches are being closed in other countries, they are becoming beer halls, but to us it is something new.  We need to look into the issue of coming up with schools in different areas.  We also need to consider how things are being done.  Mr. Speaker, there are areas that were favoured by the missionaries.  Those are the very areas that Government secondary schools are being built and most of the teachers in these schools are qualified teachers and the weird thing is that there are no temporary teachers but the pass rate is not increasing. 

Firstly, the person who is called a teacher is not well remunerated because the salary that he is getting is what is being attained also by the touts and the kombi drivers.  So we need to look at the issue of remuneration of teachers.  Transport allowances should be considered.  I once worked as a civil servant in Chiweshe at a place called Dewe.  For a teacher to leave Dewe to come and get his salary, he needs $100 to and $100 back.  Long back we used to get transport allowance.  The teachers are no longer getting transport allowances.  If a person uses $200 on transport and they earn $300, they are left with $100, what is left for them to fend for themselves?  There is nothing.

If a person graduates, they are capped by the President of the nation to say this is the cap of knowledge and you can now go home.  However, as they get to the school, they are being capped by the water buckets which they carry on their heads.  We are saying when a person is educated, it has to be noble enough and their homes should be well built to ensure that their homes have that level of nobility.  Some of the teachers get their water from the borehole and when they go to fetch water, you will find the guys waiting there to assist the teacher in accessing water.  In the end, you will find that a teacher is married by the soldier love. 

The accommodation that our teachers are living in is not up to standard.  I visited my niece who is a teacher and four of them reside in one house.  The other one is a member of the apostolic sect and the other one is doing his own thing.  In another room, there is a new born baby who is crying and there are four noises coming from the same house.  If you record and take it to the studio, nothing will come out.  So I am saying that we need to ensure that our teachers have decent accommodation and the houses should be reasonably big. They should not be so small because some of the houses are very small that you can hardly stretch your hands. That is why we are saying we need to work together on the issue of giving pupils food. We need to assist each other.

In my constituency, I came up with a rule that every school should be able to grow its own vegetables. We cannot have agriculture that is textbook based without the practical aspect. So, it is an issue that we need to address. These products need to be taken to school so that the children can eat. Most children are just released from home to go to school without any food. So, the food should be used to feed these children.

We also need to consider the location of the area. If you go to Borrowdale, they are not worried because they have food. The advantaged in Harare are the ones who are getting food. Let us look at those who are disadvantaged. There should also be a law to say that every child who comes to school should have shoes on their feet. We met 20 children who were coming from school and only two had shoes. The others were walking barefooted. A liberated country should ensure that we assist the children. Making a child walk barefooted is violation of the child’s right because the child is entitled to a standard basic living.

In terms of transport to school, children are using transport that is not road worthy even when they go for sports. Let us remember that for Zimbabwe to be where it is today, it is all because of the education system that we have. There is need to ensure that if we pass that children go to school whilst pregnant, we need also to engage doctors to find out if this is permissible. Let us assist each other to see whether this is possible if we have learned people in this House – [HON.D. SIBANDA: Wakaenda kuchikoro chenhumbu!] – Schools are not waiting mothers’ shelters where children go to school pregnant. Where will they get uniforms to cater for their pregnancy? If a child gets pregnant they should go and give birth and given six months to look after the child then only can they re-enroll in school – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

When we are talking about education, you can say all other things and beat me in other subjects but no one has learned children like I have. I have 12 children who are doctors and engineers. I am speaking from experience and I have travelled this road before, so I know everything. We do not want to destroy the education system for other children. You know that if a pregnant child goes to school, others will be singing and mocking that child to an extent that she will not want to go back to school.

On the issue of using our vernacular language, it should be geographical. If you go to Binga, Tonga should be taught there but we should go a step further Mr. Speaker. We should ask ourselves the reason why the Bible was translated into all languages. The people who translated the Bible did not translate Maths or Science into different languages because they knew that if you translate Maths and Science, to put it into vernacular you will develop. So now we have reached a stage whereby we need to teach these subjects using our vernacular languages because without our vernacular languages no development will take place and we are not going anywhere.

English is a language of communication. There is nothing scientific that leads to the development of a nation through English. We do not want a person to talk to the Queen’s grandchild. There are economies that are progressing, for example Egypt. I was in Egypt and they do not speak in English. Iran and Japan, they use their vernacular languages but the challenge that we had is that when we were colonised by the British, we adopted everything; we need that decolonisation of the mind. These books should be translated into all languages. What is the need for children going to school yet there are no books and ballpoints?

On the issue of corporal punishment, that is a non-starter. A child must be disciplined. The headmaster should call the child, inform the child of the wrong that he/she has done and the beat the child. What you are now talking about modern teaching does not make sense. We have not learnt anything that helps the country. If you look at Malawi, their average yield per hectare is three tonne, in South Africa it is 20 tonne and in Zimbabwe we cannot even get one tonne. If you look at the literacy level, Zimbabwe has the highest rate. We have learnt to speak English and we have said we are literate and are doing well. We need to be agriculturally and economically literate and this should be graded.

Singing in English, ‘the Lord is my Saviour’ is not literacy. That is just speaking and consoling your mind. We need to learn and be educated in things that will educate and develop Zimbabwe. The Committee understood and I want to thank them for doing a good job but Hon. Members in this House, let us look at this Bill and consider where it is taking us to as a nation. Is it after improving our education or we are saying that our education is there? I was at funeral recently and the accent that one person was speaking in while hands were in his pockets to say, ‘I am very sorry’ - I was told that he has a Masters in Religious Studies but that is not being cultured. We need to have dignity.

The problem that we have as males is that we consider ourselves to be the heads of our homes/families. It is not amazing to be able to father a child. The important thing is to be able to give birth, father the child and send that child to school and instill good morals. Even dogs, cows and other animals give birth. So, you cannot be a father if you are not sending your children to school.

What I am saying Mr. Speaker, is that nowadays people are not looking after their children; the strength that you are using to impregnate and bear children is the same strength that you should exhibit by sending your children to school. If you are taking any Viagra, take that drug for development purposes in coming up with bricks to build schools.  You cannot be there just to give birth and not sending your children to school, that is not being a father. 

HON. CHOMBO: I move to extend the Hon. Member’s time with five minutes.

Time limit

HON. K. PARADZA: I second.

*HON. MUDARIKWA: I want to thank the Hon. Members who have supported me.  If you pass through Julius Nyerere Way in the morning at 0500hrs during this winter, you will find school children coming from Chitungwiza and being taken to David Livingstone School.  We are violating the children’s rights; let us build good schools in Chitungwiza, Highfileds and countrywide to ensure that the children’s rights are not violated.  The other challenge we are going to face as parents and as a nation is that these children are going to lose interest in education because the distances they are travelling are too long and it tires them.

          Form one enrollment – when students have finished their grade seven and want to enroll into form one, they are told to use the online registration.  In my constituency for example, the network is always down, and so students fail to get form one places.  At the end of the day, the poor will remain poor and will always get sub-standard education.   There are certain people who have got a wrong perception that such and such an area is full of dull students.  However, God in His righteousness never settled people in terms of their intelligence. The issue is that there are no schools in the communities for a child to access good education.   For parents to enroll into adult education is good because at the end of the day they will start to acknowledge and appreciate the value of education.  Uneducated parents do not value education, so adult education should be promoted. 

          Mr. Speaker, I would like to end my submissions by saying that a person needs to address his own problems.  The issue of education is our work here in Parliament, it is us who should ensure that our education system is addressed. 

However, for those who were sleeping whilst I was making my contribution like Hon. Chikwinya, I would like to thank you and for those who were listening, I want to thank you also.  Let us proceed to come up with quality education in Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

          HON. TSUNGA:  I am profusely happy that you have recognised me after a very long time.  I rise also to contribute to this important discussion on the Education Amendment Bill.  A lot of good things have been said and I shall not waste time regurgitating what has already been discussed.  I will go straight to Clause 4.

          Clause 4 talks about the funding of education and where there is limitation in regard to the extent to which Government can be able to fund basic education.  The concern here is that there is going to be some negative impact on the education system especially in regard to the internal efficiency of the education system.  I see because of this clause, that there is going to be some children who may not be able to enroll because of the limitations that the State will have in funding education; some children will obviously be condemned to ignorance.  The question we must be asking ourselves as legislators is - which children and whose children are we condemning to ignorance through such provisions?  Enrollment rates, transition rates, promotion rates, retention rates, completion and indeed pass rates in the schools will be impacted because of lack of adequate funding for the education.  So really, this is the issue that the Bill must address to ensure that the internal efficiency of the education system is upheld. 

          The sole right of a school head to enroll – my concern here is that we will continue to have some children who reside within the proximity of certain schools not being allowed to enroll at the nearest school because the responsibility to enroll still fully lies with the school head.  My proposal would be that at each school, the Bill must provide for an Enrollment Committee so that there are checks and balances and children within the confines of a particular radius of the school are not denied enrollment because the responsibility lies on the shoulder of an individual.

          Other issues that the Bill does not appear to be addressing adequately relate to issues of instructional efficiency and effectiveness.  I think there must be clauses that address this dimension, especially looking at issues like teacher to pupil ratios, text books to pupil ratios, chair to pupil ratios, desk to pupil ratios and such other ratios that impact again on the instructional efficiency and effectiveness of teachers in the school. 

          The Bill must also address issues of equity and equality in the provision of education. I think much effort is not being put to address this issue in the Bill and it must be explicit in terms of addressing issues of equity and equality.  Treat equals equally and treat unequals unequally.  Basically, that is what equity is all about. Where schools are disadvantaged, they must be able to get more resources and the Bill must be clear on that because where we are not equal, we must also be treated in equality.  You cannot treat unequal equally because then there is no progressive or affirmative action in trying to address the gaps that the disadvantaged suffer from.

           Teachers’ welfare – an Hon. Member has already alluded to the fact that unless we address issues relating to compensation of teachers, issues relating to conditions of service, we still come up with half baked outputs of the education system.  Let us look at the issues to do with the teaching service commission for example. For some staff in the civil service, you have separate commissions for them like the Health Service Commission, the Uniformed Service Commission and so on whereas with teachers, there is no commission.  I think the issue of a teaching service commission is critical because it will look at issues specific to teachers rather than have teachers brought together with all other civil servants who are not necessarily teachers and their conditions of service remain the same.  Also the issue of teaching professions council is important so that teachers are able to regulate themselves in terms of their needs, aspirations and their ways of doing things.  The Bill could perhaps touch on that and we can be able to say in terms of the conditions of service and rates of pay, they can also be able to regulate themselves to some degree and in terms of which people can be accepted to practice the profession of teaching.  This Bill could address such other issues.

I am happy about the need to have a fund for the funding of infrastructure and payment of fees.  This will be a progressive move because at the moment, the per capita grand system is not adequately addressing the funding needs of our schools.  That should be applauded and endorsed.  The issue of inclusive education, there is some attempt to address the issue of pupils with disabilities.  As somebody has already said, we might need to have at every school, teachers who are specialists in special education rather than have separate isolated institutions that are designated as special schools.  It is imperative that the Bill speaks to issues of inclusive education, of special education and ensure that every school at least has some specialist teacher who can be able to handle students with special needs.  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.

*HON. K. PARADZA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am not going to repeat what has been debated by other Members but I stood up to thank the Government that is headed by President Mnangagwa.  I want to thank the Government because in Makonde, a model primary school with ECD and primary that is out of this world is being built.  I have never seen such a school before.  I just stood up to thank the Hon. Minister and the President for the good work that they are doing.  What is now needed Mr. Speaker is that POTRAZ should use the universal fund in order to furnish our schools with computers to ensure that there are information centres so that our children can be ICT literate.  They need internet to enable them grow up clever and ICT literate.  I want to thank the initiative at Chipo Primary School which was done by the Government. Madam Speaker, thank you very much.  

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I will also be short since the majority of the issues have been discussed by my fellow Members.  Madam Speaker, let me first of all draw you to the issue of reducing financial barriers to education under which the Bill seeks to establish a Basic Education Fund in Clause 68 (c).  Madam Speaker, I just rose to locate this principle with the principle of devolution.  We must not discuss issues in isolation.  We are currently seized with the principle of establishing the policy of devolution and only awaiting the legislative framework with Cabinet having approved the policy framework only a few weeks back.  The various consultative meetings which I have gone through with regards to devolution states that it is imperative for investors to be able to locate the needs of the communities where they would have invested; and for the local authorities to be able to take control of the proceeds from the investors in the localities where the investors will be located, within the framework of devolution.

Within that same context Madam Speaker, we were briefed by the Hon. Minister two weeks back when Parliament was in session that already some funding had been released to local authorities within the principle of devolution.  I can confirm Madam Speaker that as of Thursday last week, the majority of local authorities had received an average of $250 thousand.  There is not yet a policy framework on how they should use this money and I want to locate some of these basic needs as enshrined in our Constitution that the Bill must be able to be specific that part of the money for devolution must be used towards the Basic Education Fund.  We must be able to locate a certain per centum to say, of the total money which we are receiving under devolution, this percentage must be able to go towards basic education fund. 

We must also be able to say, if you look at Section 20 of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill, it talks of corporate social responsibility.  There is no better corporate social responsibility than an investor being able to assist the community with education services.  We must be able then to locate that Section 20 and link it up with Basic Education Fund.  Our legislation at the moment must be able to come out clear putting in per centum. 

When an investor comes into our community, into our nation, part of the application process for example, we want an investor in platinum and we have a free claim in Mhondoro and there are three investors.  Certainly, the person who speak to community development more must be able to get the award more than the person who speaks less to community development.  There is no way to be able to speak to community development more than to be able to sustain the Basic Education Fund. 

Madam Speaker, I will briefly be the devil’s advocate with regards to prohibition of discriminatory barriers with respect to pregnancy.  If as Parliament, we pass subsidiary laws that do not speak to the Constitution; we run the risk of being outlawed by our own courts of law.  Section 27 (2) of the Constitution says, “The State must take measures to ensure that girls are afforded the same opportunities as boys to obtain education at all levels.”  So you are going to have a child who is pregnant at 17 years for example, which is above the current legal age of sexual consent.  Then she takes us to court or she takes the State to court to say, I have been denied the right to education because I am pregnant.  Certainly, with my basic legal mind, the Constitutional Court is going to refer us to Section 2 to say, if there is a regulation that says a child cannot go to school because she is pregnant, that regulation is inconsistent with Section 2 of the Constitution.  I am alive and I am aware of the emotional attachment towards the generality of our populace to say, children must not go to school when they are pregnant.  That is an emotional argument but we must be able to have a fallback position which is a constitutional provision. As we reflect on our constitutional amendments going forward and as we pass this Bill, the Parliamentary Legal Committee is going to have time with regards to aligning that provision which says a child can be dismissed from school because of pregnancy and with Section 27 (2).  As Parliamentarians, let us be aware of the same legislation which we passed here in Parliament under a Constitution which is the Supreme Law and the legislation which is subservient to the Constitution which you want to pass.

          There is the right to comprehensive sexual education and it is going to be contained in a certain clause.  We are certainly going to discuss that as we go clause by clause.  These are being called SHRs in Clause 13.  I think that because of the realities of our economic condition which may not be permanent but as of now, we have so many civil society organisations which can volunteer sexual reproductive health to our schools. These are currently having memorandum of understandings with tertiary education for example SAYWHAT and YET.  These have memorandum of understandings and are going out to tertiary education and having sexual reproductive education with college students. 

The same method can be applied to primary and secondary education where approved CSOs are given access to our primary and secondary school children and they provide sexual reproductive health education because the question as raised by the members of the public and as captured by the report by the Committee is that who will then fund the employees who will be stationed at schools and for us to circumvent that, let us go to the people who already have the funding and these are our community civic society organisations.

I will go to the school feeding programme.  I was in grade 1 in 1983 and at that particular time, we would know that there were – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – and I am proud of that – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – soon after the war.  My point is that there were buns called zvipipi – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  Order Hon. Members.  May the Hon. Member be heard in silence? 

HON. CHIKWINYA:  We were given buns and milk.  I am just trying to locate what was happening at that time as a principle of feeding.  I am not quite sure of where we have gone wrong. Of course according to the realities of our economic situation, may be parents may not be able to afford but the facilities are there that children may be given a basic meal.  There are children who are dropping out of school because of lack of food and therefore we must put in place a conscious policy programme that children must be given food at school. Let the child decline.  Certainly, there are those children born out of wealth families like Hon. Paradza who would not want a brown bun and a pint of milk but certainly my child would want that. 

I will lastly speak to issues of corporal punishment. My proposal in short will be that we cannot do away with corporal punishment.  We cannot do away totally with corporal punishment.  I propose that we designate an official like a headmaster or his designate to be able to administer corporal punishment.  We do not want to come up with indisciplined children from our schools.  The Constitution is ours and we are the law makers.  The same principle which we want to do to amend Section 27 (2), we can still do the same to accommodate that.  I know that the courts have ruled simply by interpretation of the Constitution. So it is back to us to be able to administer some modicum of discipline to our children. 

I have seen the South African education system.  This is why Zimbabweans are excelling in those jurisdictions because they are disciplined.  They are given a modicum of corporal punishment at home and at school, thus they become disciplined and educated children.  If we live it as a free for all, that pregnancy issue that you have been talking about – if you simply want to say my child do not get pregnant without wielding a rod, that child will get pregnant.  That marijuana which you do not want your boy to be smoking – if you simply say my boy do not smoke marijuana without wielding a rod, that child will continue to smoke marijuana.  I plead with Hon. Members that at least let us have a designated official who consciously administers corporal punishment at the level of headmaster or designate.  I thank you. 

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I have a few issues that I want to touch on and I also want to give solutions to problems that were being proffered by some Hon. Members who were speaking to and about the Bill.

I want to applaud the Minister for bringing this Bill.  It means that he is alive to modern day trends and he is moving with the time.  We do not want to continue to act like BBC – born before computers or act in a CCN manner that is collusion, corruption and nepotism.  We want to deal with networking, coordination and collaboration.  I really applaud the Minister for bringing this Bill to Parliament and I also want to applaud the Chairman of the Committee on Education for ventilating on very pertinent issues that saw a lot of members debating vociferously about some key issues that are embedded in this Bill.

The issue of school feeding programme has always been like a convention and maybe a tradition which was now embedded in our culture.  As Hon. Settlement Chikwinya has alluded to, when he went to school, there was a bun and maybe there was some porridge but when I went to school, there was what was called mukara.  I did not take time to see if that was there in the Act of the education system at that time.  However, for us to continue to provide feeding in the school system, it is my clarion call that every school be given what we have to use it for what we want.  We have a lot of land and it is my thinking that every school should be given enough land to embark in education with production so that it can complement and augment the meagre earnings that Government is putting into the education system as it relates to the school feeding programme. Two or six hectares of land should be given to every school, in particular primary schools where they can put in some garden of vegetables or they can put in a block that is used for rearing chicken or rabbits so that they can have relish for grain that they would have received from Government.  Where resources permit, they can have a lot of land given to them so that they can embark in triple ‘Ps’, that is Public, Private Partnerships with other investors who would want to make sure that they embark on a sustainable agricultural development system in order to get what we want from what we have.  That is as it relates to school feeding programme.

I will go on to touch on the disciplining part of our children when they are in school.  You will find that there is no more need to fight our children in this modern day and age.  A computer is garbage in, garbage out and as I have said, we should no longer behave as though it is a BBC era, the born before computers era. If you are not knowledgeable and if you certainly are not endowed with the skill of playing football, Hon. Sibanda will tell you that hatidi vanhu vanogwa nebhora.

          If you have got the right skills, haugwe nebhora, you actually step on the ball when it is time to step on it. So, this is how it relates to issues to do with the modern day education system. There is a smart boards and nine times out of 10, there is tutelage through computerisation where you are tutoring a child and the child is not necessarily in that same class, they may be next door. The interaction with the man to man interaction, there is otherwise man machine interaction as opposed to human, human interface. It is needed but you will find that including correspondence and distant education system, it does not allow for physical acrimonious relationship.

          So, assuming we say there should be continuous beating of children in their eight hour tenure with the teacher, it therefore means we are saying it is those that are disadvantaged that are going to lowly classified schools and nine times out of ten, those are Government schools or satellite schools that should continue to be beaten, whereas those that are going to trust schools, farms schools and such like continue to excel through computerization and tutelage in a modern day society.

          You then create two societies or two classes of learners because the other one who is disadvantaged will obviously continue to enjoy the cane whereas the other one who is so advanced in terms of technology will continue to excel using technology. So, this is what I am trying to get at. Aware that the teachers spend eight hours with our children, how many parents here - certainly not me, I do not spend 8 hours with my children because 9 times out of 10 I am here. We spend 8 hours of our time at work. The teachers spend 8 hours of their time at work with our kids.

          If we allow them therefore to be parents to our children, one day they will not want to come back home, they will want to follow the teacher and you do not want such a scenario. This can emanate from the schools of the low class. I am hopeful that I have completely ventilated the issue of discipline and I say no, to canning and I say yes to advancement of education through embracing of technology and shedding away the archaic moribund, rudimentary and antiquated way of dealing with modern day issues which is canning.

          I will now go to reasons why our children continue to have an issue in terms of health delivery system. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I have been quite an excellent Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development in the 8th Parliament. I presented so many reports in this Parliament, much more than any other Committee and I do not know why I have been given the sack. However, I  - [Laughter.] -

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you please stick to the motion.

          HON. NDUNA: There is what is called the third party insurance as it relates to automobiles and as it relates to remittance to Traffic Safety Council. Third party insurance relates to the more than 1.5 million vehicles that crisscross the width and breadth of our roads in Zimbabwe. How much comes out of that? Madam Speaker Ma’am, US$157 million annually accrues to third party insurance financiers. All I am asking for is because there is twelve and a half percent which is accruing to Traffic Safety Council, arising from an Act of Parliament that is overseen by the Minister of Transport and there is a Statutory Instrument 45 of 2005 which states that there shall be remittance of twelve and half percent arising from the third party insurance and what accrues to Traffic Safety Council? This is US$15 to US$20 million annually.

          So, I am just proposing that to the health care funders, they should be given 5% of that US$20 accruing annually to Traffic Safety Council. It should be given to the education sector so that it takes care of the health of our children whilst they are at school. My children went to a school which would say they want the medical aid from the parent, but there is a medical aid that covers the children whilst they are at school. This is what I would suggest accrues to all other schools. I am not talking of a felony or something that does not exist. I am talking of something that does exist. Saka ndirikuti mari iyi ikasatorwa ichashandisiwa zvimwe zvisiri izvo. Take some of it and put your money where our mouth is. This is what I am thinking. We owe it to posterity and we owe it to the future generation and we owe it to the future of our children.

          Before I touch on the issue that causes pregnancy, after independence, we saw a sprouting up of vocational training centres which catered for, amongst other things, our liberators who came in and started being schooled in the vocational centres - but there was also adult education and literacy. I remember when my mother was coming in from work and because she did not get an opportunity during youth to go to school, she would come from Consolidated Textiles at the time in Bulawayo and she would go to adult education at night.

          I believe that because we are moving with the times, we need to create a class or a place for our children who get pregnant whilst they are at school so that they can have what is called a special class for their tutolage. How do you invest in this? I remember at some point there used to be what is called Basic Education Assistant Module BEAM and in Chegutu West Constituency, this form of financing has been abused by the councillors because they quickly enrolled their children who are not disadvantaged for this programme because it is them and the SDA and the SDCs that get to know ahead all the disadvantaged children that there is such a facility.

          So, the continuation of BEAM certainly has been impeded upon by such delinquent behavior of these councillors. I do not know in other constituencies. However, I make a clarion call that there be a secluded place that is going to tutor the children that get pregnant if they do whilst they are at school.

          I will then go the reason why these children get pregnant. In my constituency in particular and Zimbabwe in general, there are places which attracted workers who were single at the time and they are living in single quarters and 20 to 30 years on...

          [Time limit]

          HON. CHOMBO: I move that his time be extended by five minutes.

          HON. KWARAMBA: I second.

          HON. NDUNA: I am saying 20 to 30 years on, you will find that now there is a father, mother, grandchild, ambuya, child, the whole family set-up in one room demarcated by a curtain.  What happens is that there is procreation and adult gymnastics during the night while the children are watching in that one room.  David Whitehead and a lot of other industries have closed but there is an industry which is not closed.  This industry of procreation and copulation is not closed. The families are always there together and children are busy looking at what adults are doing and are motivated to become pregnant whilst they are at school, as long as we do not sort out the backlog in terms of accommodation.  In Chegutu West Constituency there is a backlog of 25000 households and we need to sort it out.  Nationally it is 1.5million and that needs to be sorted out expeditiously so that we do not have pregnancies within the education system. 

          I see children coming in from very far off and if you look at road carnage you will find that 60% of people that die because of road carnage is children busy going to school.  Why should children die in the process of being educated and trying to achieve a percentage quantum of 90% literacy rate.  I therefore propose that there be a levy either like an AIDs levy for all schools to have a bus so that children are taken from their door steps to school and back to avoid crossing the highways in quest for education.  I have children walking for 15km going to school and you see them right in the middle of the road.  Why should our children die before they reach adulthood trying to look right and left, and left again before crossing highways?  Our children should just go into class and make sure that they are taken from class back to their homes.

          There is also the issue of embracing all people irrespective of their marginalised community.  I think it is Section 57, if my memory serves me right.  We need to make sure that our communities are not marginalised because of their inabilities.  There are people that are differently abled – I call them that, they are not disabled.  Fifteen percent of our electorate are differently abled and it is therefore my call that the Braille that the Chairperson of the Committee spoke about – there is need for importation of all that equipment that is used by our differently abled children to be duty free.  As long as we do not have Braille being introduced and sign language at the basic education level, we certainly are not here to make laws for the good governance of the people of Zimbabwe.  We have left out the 15% of our community.  Why should we try and have a lot of money for duty paid for the cane which is used by children that are blind to cross a busy street?  We would rather have them knocked down by vehicles because we do not want to remove duty on their products and equipment.  It would be a shame to us all.  It behoves us all to have a human heart and make laws for these children and make sure we remove duty on all equipment for people with disability, in particular our children. 

          I think I have spoken very vociferously and efficiently about issues emanating from this Bill.  In my view, this Bill, in its entirety is a Bill of Rights.  It speaks to the rights of our children who are our future and if we do not address the issues that are embedded in this Bill, we are not addressing human rights.  Thank you Madam Speaker for the time you have given me to add my voice to this debate.

          HON. MASENDA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the Education amendment Bill.  I will start on corporal punishment which in my view should not be completely abolished from the administration of the school.  It should be provided in the Bill such that there are steps to be followed in order to administer corporal punishment effectively.  Students or our own children of today are different from children of yesterday because they are mischievous to the extent that they will even beat the teachers or their parents if nothing is done to control the way they behave at school.  So I believe that there should be steps that we should put in place in order to govern the application of corporal punishment.

          Then coming to pregnancy, I think the Bill should not exclude students who fall pregnant during their education period. Instead, we should give them support so they are able to go and deliver and come back to school.  In certain administrations, they have built a place where those who fall pregnant whilst still at school can come in the morning and deposit their child, go and learn and come back and breast feed their child and go back to school at the expense of the State.  So, this is my recommendation because if we exclude them from school what are we saying?  We are saying they will be disadvantaged together with their children from education.   So, my recommendation is that we should provide for care of the children who are born during the school time.

          The Bill should make provision for speedy registrations of schools that are established within the different communities.  I say this in view of the fact that in my constituency there are four high schools with A levels and out of the four, only one is a registered examination centre,  the reason being that they do not have a science laboratory – that is the pre-condition.  You should have a science laboratory in order for you to be officially registered as an examination centre but some of these schools do not teach Science at all.  They teach Arts, Geography and Business Studies – they do not need science laboratories but this is a pre-condition that affects all schools to the effect that students from my constituency have to walk 15 to 20 kms to take an examination where the school is registered.  They have to board a bus from wherever they are to Karoi in order to write an examination.  So I feel that should not be the case because students are disadvantaged.

          Teachers for example, have to deposit examination papers at a certain centre that is 10 to 15 kms away from the examination centre because there is a central collection point for examination papers to the extent that some teachers go to the pub, get drunk and forget the students examination papers in the pub.  Such issues must be looked at speedily and the Bill must address that. 

There is also provision for ECD schools that are a distance apart, about five to 10 kilometers apart.  Children who are four to five years old have to walk the distance to school and back barefooted.  I think that the amendment Bill should look at provisions of satellite ECD schools within the reach of young children who attend those schools such that they can only attend the bigger school after their ECD graduation.

          The Bill should also address the appointment of substantive head teachers within a period of time.  I say this because out of 38 primary schools, in my constituency, only 28 have substantive heads – the rest are acting heads.  They act over a long period of time from five to 10 years of acting.  Why not appoint them as substantive heads or if they do not qualify to be appointed as substantive heads, why not appoint substantive heads from elsewhere so that they can come and administer the schools?  This is a big concern particularly from my constituency.

          Water provision is a human right.  Schools should have at least a borehole within the school that they administer – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  so that students and teachers have easy access to water.  When you go to some schools and see where they fetch their water from – I visited one school and they said, ‘Hon. Member, let us take you to the water point’.  The water point is a small hole within the river that everyone else drinks from, i.e. the parents, students, teachers and animals.  What are we doing?  We must address the fact there should be water provided for every school within our country so that people have access to drinking water.

          Another issue that the Bill should address is that of the provision of electricity.  The new curriculum provides that there are certain examinations that cannot be undertaken if you are not using a computer.  What it literally means is that most students are left out because most schools do not have electricity.  We should, through the Rural Electrification Agency, provide electricity to all schools within the country so that students can undertake examinations as required by the education system.

          I am also going to recommend that the Education Amendment Bill deals with teachers who have extra curricula relationships with students resulting in them falling pregnant because most teachers in my constituency, there are four teachers that I am aware of.  One impregnated a student and the girl was of the apostolic faith religion, so she could not go to the ordinary hospital.  She had to be taken to the prophet who did whatever he did and unfortunately she died from pregnancy complications.  So, we are saying that the Bill should address specific issues of teachers who have extra curricula relationships with students.

          I think that Hon. Chikwinya spoke about feeding schemes.  In this time and age or rather this season for example, there is hunger across the country.  Students are going to school on an empty stomach without having anything to eat.  This includes ECD, primary and secondary school students – some of them walk long distances to school and are finding it difficult to return home because they leave home early in the morning at 0600 hrs and finish at 1600 hrs.  They get home around 1800 hrs or 1900 hrs when it is already dark.  So we should revive the feeding schemes for our students so that they are able to survive during this time of hunger that is affecting the country as a whole.

          The amendment Bill should also deal with resource allocation.  We have the new curriculum with new books and new everything.  You get to a school and there is nothing that supports the new curriculum.  Teachers are teaching from their telephones if they do have them and it is very difficult for students to catch up on anything because they are not being given the chance to read by themselves.  They are being taught materially that they cannot support themselves through studying.

          There is also the issue - you will be interested, I am a tobacco farmer.  I ran out of chalk to record how many kilogrammes some of the workers grade per day.  So I said, ‘Alright, let us go to the next school and ask for four pieces of chalk then I can bring some when I travel into town’.  There were no chalks at the school – resource allocation again.  If they are supposed to write on the black board to show the students how it is done and there are no chalks, what are we talking about?  How are the students going to learn?  How is the teacher expected to impart that knowledge to the students?  So the Bill should really support adequate resource allocation in schools.

          I also want to recommend that the Education Amendment Bill supports the mandatory teaching of agriculture in all schools.  We are an agriculture based country and cannot afford to allow our students to graduate from schools without basic agriculture knowledge.  So the education system should support mandatory teaching of agriculture.

          I also recommend that the Education Amendment Bill recognises the need to teach vocational courses from as low down as primary school so that students who get out of the schools are not just white-collar trained but have something to fall back on in the event that they fail to advance with their education.  We cannot all be professors, pilots, et cetera. They have a basic education that will enable them to undertake vocational courses to support whatever they can do in their lives.

          Lastly, I would also recommend that the Education Amendment Bill addresses the issue of accessibility to schools by students who live in rural areas.  I say this in view of the fact that there are schools that are a kilometer away but there is a stream.  During the rainy season, students spend weeks on end because they cannot cross the stream for fear of being swept away by the floods.  The Education Amendment Bill should also address the issue of accessibility to schools and construction of foot bridges to use when crossing to attend school without fear of being swept away.  With these recommendations, Madam Speaker Ma’am, I thank you.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  Hon. Sithole, may you kindly round off and then the Minister will conclude because I had already recognised him after Hon. Masenda.

HON. S. SITHOLE:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to stand – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, may you please give the Hon. Member an opportunity to be heard in silence.  Hon. Sithole, address the Chair!  Thank you

+HON. S. SITHOLE:  I was intending to speak in English but I am turning to my mother language.  Madam Speaker, I am very grateful for the time you have given me to make my contribution.  I know it is now very late but what pleases me most is that you have given me a chance to give a vote of thanks since I am going to be the last contributor on this debate.  What is pleasing me very much is that Members of Parliament from both sides of the House have talked with one voice and supported the Bill.  I have never known such unity of purpose by these MPs.  We have had divine intervention from the Lord above.  It shows that these people want their children to have a better future.  They have said they do not want their children to be impregnated while they are still at school and have shown that the parents love their children and hence, they want what is good for them. 

Let me not waste the time of this House, but I am still very grateful for what has been said by the Hon. Members because if we had no love for our children, we would have supported the idea of homosexuals, lesbians and gays but we are saying we want to support our people.  I thank you. 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 18th June, 2019.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO), the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m.

 

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