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Redflag over Zimbabwe’s education system

TANATSWA KANDENGA

 

Zimbabwe’s educational system is seriously endangered by the escalating political and economic crisis, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has said.

In a statement this week, the educators said:“ARTUZ is here to sound the alarm on the dire state of education in our country.”

It continued: “We refuse to  turn a blind eye to the continuing political  and economic crisis that has plunged Zimbabwe into a deep-rooted social crisis, affecting  the very foundation of  our society.

“Education, especially primary and secondary education, is the bedrock of sustainable development,  and it is high time our government starts treating  it as such. We demand immediate and significant  funding for education in the upcoming 2024 budget.”

The budget for 2023, according to the educators, was an empty promise.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education may have boosted  the highest allocation among all ministries in the 2023 budget, but it was nothing  more than an empty gesture.

“The allocation of ZWL$631.279bn, accounting  for a mere 14.04% of the total national budget, fell far short  of what was needed to make real improvements in the education sector.

Even with a slight increase from the previous year, the 2023 budget is a far cry from the 4.6% range to GDP recommended  by the Incheon Declaration for Education (2015), which Zimbabwe is  a signatory to.

“ARTUZ demands a minimum budget allocation of 20% of GDP, aligning with the Dakar Declaration. This means  allocating 4% to 6%  of GDP to education, as outlined in the targets set by  the Incheon Declaration for Education.

“We refuse  to accept the government’s  pitiful allocation of 0.4% of the total budget for the  schools feeding programme. How can we expect our children  to learn on empty stomachs?

“The per capita allocation of US$1.60 per learner  per year is an insult to their well-being. We demand an immediate  increase of at least US$0.50 per learner  per school day for the school feeding  program. This program must expand  to include urban  schools affected by poverty as well.”

Teachers expressed their belief that the government’s commitment to providing basic education was merely a series of hollow words.

“The  meager allocation of ZWL$1.930bn  for tuition grants falls woeful short of ensuring  equal access  to education for all children. We demand an immediate increase  to at least US410 per school term(US$30 per year) per learner.

“The program must also be expanded to accommodate the growing  number of children affected by poverty and declining  family incomes.”


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