Bulawayo Metropolitan Senator Dorothy Khumalo (MDC) has moved a motion in the Senate calling on government to reverse its decision to close school development committees (SDCs), saying it will result in the collapse of the education system.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Her motion, which was seconded by Matabeleland South Senator Joyce Ndlovu, follows recent verbal directives to school heads by ministry district inspectors that all SDC accounts at government schools must be closed immediately and the funds transferred to the School Services Fund (SSF), which is a government account.
The Senator said the order to transfer school accounts to the SSF was a ploy by the ruling Zanu PF government to raid funds for the 2018 elections.
“There is a feeling that the ministry wants to raid these SSF funds for political expediency, especially as we go to the 2018 elections, and the pronouncement by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education that the monies can be channelled to build new schools in rural constituencies adds weight to this thinking,” Khumalo said.
“We are worried that the latest directive will have unintended consequences, which may negatively affect the quality of education at all government schools.”
She said allowing parents and other stakeholders to elect a school development committee board to manage the affairs of schools resulted in improved infrastructure at schools and helped in the attainment of good academic results.
“Parents had to come in and contribute in the education sector because government had lost its financial muscle to provide quality education. Parents accordingly felt that they were owners of the schools together with government and, hence, their commitment to work with school heads to improve the education standards at schools,” Khumalo said.
She criticised Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora for using the media to sway Zimbabweans into believing that SDCs were corrupt and must be closed.
“If the minister’s assertions are correct, one would assume that the law should take its course by bringing the culprits to book. Alternatively, should the current legal framework have been inadequate, it would be best for the ministry to tighten the laws,” she said.
The Senator said the ministry should, instead, align the Education Act to the Constitution and cease forthwith the transfer of SDC funds to the SSF.
“Government should formulate a statutory instrument to guide the operations of SDCs, taking into account stakeholders’ input,” she said.