GOVERNMENT is facing a mammoth task of addressing a national deficit of at least 2 056 schools to accommodate all children who are supposed to be at school, an official has said.
Speaking at the launch of Bakers’ Inn’s Junior Schools Collect for Cash programme yesterday Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Professor Paul Mavhima said the ministry was looking for partners to co-operate in addressing schools infrastructure development.
“Bakers’ Inn is becoming part of our big education family and as they join this family, they should share in the happiness we enjoy as a result of the immense achievements we have made in such areas as literacy, but they should also be prepared to share in the challenges we face due to the deficiencies in the provision of good learning and teaching facilities,” Mavhima said.
“Once this concept has been proven, we hope this programme will grow and become national by January 2015. We hope that it will achieve a huge return that will make a real dent in the provision of the national schools infrastructure.”
Mavhima said arrangements had been made to ensure that the programme does not interfere with Grade 7 examinations.
“Bakers’ Inn with ministry officials, schools and school development comittees, will work closely to ensure that the funds are properly remitted and accounted for,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Bakers’ Inn Harare general manager David Muchinguri said they were committed to schools’ infrastructure development.
“As a business, we are aware that our children are our future and hence our decision to partner with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education to raise funds towards school infrastructure development,” Muchinguri said.
“Through the Junior Schools Collect for Cash programme, we shall be paying back to the schools two cents for every Bakers Inn bag collected.”
Muchinguri said the bags are printed “schools” so that they are able to isolate promotion from non-promotion bags.
“To ensure that this programme is a success, Bakers’ Inn teams will be visiting all the junior schools in Harare and Bulawayo, educating them on the mechanics of the promotion,” he said.
“We will extend our activations to include communities around the schools encouraging them to participate in the programme by helping collect bags for their schools with the more bags collected, the more money they will get.”
Muchinguri said the potential return of this investment to schools would make a difference to the education system.
“At an average enrolment of 800 pupils per school, if every child in the 351 schools we have in the two provinces brings a bag every day for the duration of this promotion, as a business, we will invest into our schools a minimum of $235 000,” he said.
“Depending on the success of this programme, as a business we are committed to having this as an on-going investment including all schools in the country.”
The Bakers’ Inn’s pilot project, which started running yesterday until the close of this year’s third term, will give back to the schools two cents for every bread bag collected by a school.