An academic at a State university in Bulawayo has urged new churches, mostly Pentecostals, to take after mainline churches and missionaries in helping in the education sector by setting up schools where possible.
Addressing delegates at the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association Education Conference at the weekend, a Lupane State university lecturer, Cornelius Ncube, said churches were instrumental in uplifting Zimbabwe’s education sector and the new churches ought to emulate them.
“With the exception of mainline churches, we see there are a lot of churches coming up in this city, but they are rarely ploughing back to the community. We are asking these churches to plough some of the offerings and tithes into the building of schools and expanding education opportunities for our children,” he said.
A resident at the meeting brought the academic’s attention to the fact that these churches were supporting schools by hiring classes and other premises for services.
“Don’t you think these churches are supportive? They hire schools for $50 to have their services. I think headmasters should account for that money, which I believe is a lot,” she said.
However, Ncube said the new churches had to do more than merely hiring school facilities.
“If they hire school buildings, they simply have to pay for the services offered, but I am saying they should do more. They should build schools. They should support schools in a tangible manner like the missionaries did and the mainline churches continue to do,” he said.
The conference ran under the theme, “Revitalising the education sector for sustainable development in Matabeleland”.
Ncube said it was important in Bulawayo to look at the revival of education in the context of industrial revival in a city once dubbed the industrial hub of the country.
“We should be talking about government partnership with the private sector in education within the context of the general de-industrialisation of Bulawayo.
“It is sad that, as parents, we never made any noise about the failed Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) because we believed it was all about companies,” he said.