BY MOSES MATENGA
Parliament yesterday proposed the use of tents used by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as a short-term solution to stop children from using beerhalls and garages as classrooms.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development Actors (ZINECDA)-organised meeting on the status of early childhood development funding status in Harare, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the situation in most schools was dire.
“We gave a solution and we are hoping the Education ministry will take it. We said instead of putting children in garages, we can use tents that we normally use for election purposes,” she said.
“Why not use those tents right now when we have no elections. I know (Zec chairperson Justice) Priscilla Chigumba does not have a problem with it.
“We have said devolution funds should be allocated to those areas where the situation is bad.”
She said children in marginalised communities had been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the distribution of resources by government to allow online lessons should favour them.
“What COVID-19 has done is to create a digital divide between those that have and that do not have. What we are saying now is that let us look at options to ensure those without, in particular rural communities, have pre-recorded radio programmes,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
“Let us be realistic about our context and deal with what is available. Education is one area where COVID-19 has hit hard and we are asking the government to push and look into it.
“Part of our argument as we were going for examinations was that you are examining those who have and those who do not have. As Parliament, the position is that resources should be disbursed on the basis of equity and not equal resources so that those who have will get minimum allocation and more for those who do not have.”
She said part of the solution was to push for higher taxation for multinational companies “particularly those in the extractive industry so that we put that money to those that do not have”.
ZINECDA national co-ordinator Naison Bhunu said there was need for stakeholders to work together to achieve a common goal and ensure more funding for the early childhood development agenda.
“We all have to work together and identify solutions. We are all in this together,” Bhunu said.
- Follow Moses on Twitter Moses @mmatenga