While the introduction of new schools across the country is a noble and commendable idea, the same initiative in the resettlement areas across the country has faced a crippling resistance from teachers, pupils and some parents who shun the schools.
Revelations by the Ministry of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture indicate that since the inception of the schools after the chaotic land reform programme, teachers are shunning the schools due to their remote locations and lack of proper infrastructure.
Sikhwili Khohli Moyo Secondary School in Insindi resettlement area of Gwanda is still struggling to erect structures at the bushy site.
Villagers from the nearby Dambashoko village are shunning the school development project because they are not happy with the site.
They wanted it to be close to Dambashoko Primary School where it is currently operating from.
Insindi resettlement area has around hundred families with very few children to constitute a class. Most of the children are expected to be drawn from the nearby Dambashoko village, the reason why villagers say the school must have been situated close to the Dambashoko Primary School.
The school was named after the national hero, Sikhwili Khohli Moyo in recognition of his participation in the war of liberation.
Recently the Minister of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture David Coltart said schools which were introduced in the resettlement areas were just good propaganda to the politicians but detrimental to the children’s education and their future.
“The planning of the schools in the resettlement areas was not economical, hence the schools are currently faced by numerous challenges ranging from lack of infrastructure, shortage of stationary and are being shunned by teachers and pupils.
“This development leaves the future of those schools hanging in the balance and unlikely to last long unless proper measures are taken to alleviate the crisis” Coltart said.
He said the issue of the crisis at most resettlement schools is a serious problem to the children as their education is not secure due to the environment they are learning in and numerous challenges the schools face.
Coltart said his ministry considered the plight at those schools and was not discriminating them in the stationary supply programme.
According to the ministry, there are about 5 500 primary schools across the country.
Coltart said the schools in the resettlement areas were not properly set up. He said the schools are very small and unsustainable.
“They have no housing facilities for teachers and even for the children. This is the reason why teachers shun the schools. Although it is a general trend that teachers have always shunned rural schools in favour of urban schools, it’s worse in resettlement schools,” said Coltart.
After the land reform programme, the government introduced schools in the resettlement areas for the children of the so-called new farmers.
Coltart said in relation to teachers shunning rural schools, his ministry is drafting a policy that will ensure teachers take up posts in the rural schools.
“We are in the process of drafting a policy that will ensure teachers go to rural schools. We also want to draft a policy which will enable teachers working in the rural schools to get sound rural allowances in efforts to attract more teachers to the rural schools” said Coltart.
He further lamented the very limited resources from the government in improving the rural schools infrastructure saying it is one of the major factors that made teachers shun the rural schools.
He called for the massive injection of funds in the education sector in order to consolidate development projects in the sector.
Coltart said despite the fact that the schools in the resettlement areas were uneconomical and unsustainable, it was still important that children get proper education in those schools.