Schools to close early

Finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday told Parliament that schools would close early next month to allow teachers to conduct the national population census earmarked for August 17 and 18.

Biti said government had resolved that the current school term should end on August 2 instead of August 9 to allow teachers, who constitute the majority of the census enumerators, to prepare for the programme.

He said $37 million was needed for this year’s census, adding Zimbabweans in the Diaspora would also be counted through a website to be set up by his ministry.

“Zimbabwe will conduct a population census on August 17 and 18, 2012, which is a planning tool to give us certain economic indicators on poverty levels, health issues and such data that can be useful for policy, programme planning, monitoring and evaluation and progress to achieve nationally agreed millennium development goals, and also the data will provide information for the delimitation of constituencies,” Biti said.

“Preparations are ongoing and 1 320 district level supervisors have been trained, as well as
6 000 enumeration supervisors and 31 000 enumerators, the majority of which are schoolteachers, necessitating this school term to close on August 2, 2012, but schools will open on the normal date in September (11),” he said.
He said $22 million had been spent to train the enumerators and there was a shortfall of
$15,2 million, which he expected government to get from donors.

Biti urged MPs to encourage their constituents to be counted and said the two days would be declared public holidays to allow for the census to take place smoothly.

Zimbabwe last held a census in 2002 where the population was estimated at 11,6 million.

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