By Shingirai Vambe
The no show of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in a number of ministries at the just ended four day pre-budget seminar has opened a can of worms, with some describing the absenteeism as a deliberate move to avoid facing the music.
One of the most debated sessions was that of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in which it was revealed that 4676 children dropped out of school in the previous year.
Pregnancy, early marriage and financial constraints were pointed as the key drivers of such a scenario.
Ministry Spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro confirmed and told Post On Sunday that due to unforeseen situations which the country and the world is facing, including Covid-19, the country among other nations has not yet managed to recover from the vagaries and as a result many have failed to fend for their children to an extent of failing to pay for their school fees.
Regardless of the government policy that no child must be excluded from class because of non-payment of fees, schools have continued to send away children and this has also contributed to the delinquent behaviors that are being seen from the school going children.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Education Chairperson, Tonderai Moyo told this publication that the education system in Zimbabwe is now in a dire state with some rural schools running with only 2 teachers while parents and guardians are also failing to supply school requirements for their children to learn.
In Africa, the University of Zimbabwe is ranked 84. In addition to the drop in ranking,examination papers are leaking every year, with this year recording the highest number of leakages.
The Minister of Education , Evelyn Ndlovu highlighted during the budget that investigations were underway and several arrests have been made so far.
Matebeleland has however recorded the highest rate of drop outs in the country, due to lack of teachers able to speak the vernacular languages.
Majority of teachers are from other regions and Matebeleland has failed to increase intake numbers of teachers in the area. A proposal has been made that the centralized employment system must be abolished as it promotes corruption in the education sector.
Effects of exclusion have seen majority engaging in drug and substance abuse, sex and hustling in and across the borders.
Districts nearby or across the borders have recorded lot of school dropouts as students may decide or prefer going to South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi or Namibia to look for general hand work than learning. They have blamed the current socio-economic and political situation that has seen many graduates turning to be vendors and the country being over 80 percent informalized.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of finance and economic development, George Guvamatanga told delegates at the pre-budget seminar that the Basic Education Assistance Module was paid through the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare.
“We have since started paying for BEAM and its now 5 weeks since we have started,” said Guvamatanga.