Govt must act on national livelihood

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THE Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt Development (Zimcodd) tells us that some four million children are no longer able to attend school because their parents can barely afford to pay fees for them.

Zimcodd, a socio-economic justice coalition established in February 2000 to facilitate citizens’ involvement in making public policy more pro-people and pro-poor, says these children have all decided to apply for government’s Basic Education Assistance Module programme, but only a quarter of them have been able to get assistance.

The organisation also says another over 160 000 pupils failed to sit for their final examinations because their parents could not afford the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council end of year examination fees.

It is disturbing that such a large number of Zimbabwean children to fail to access basic education.

Public Service minister Paul Mavima tells us that: “President Emmerson Mnangagwa said by next year, the government will start State-funded basic education, so all the children will be taken care of next year.”

While government’s offer and promise for free basic education next year is a noble and most welcome gesture, if fulfilled, this will, unfortunately, not develop the nation. It will simply result in creating a lazy people who are ever dependent on government handouts.

We believe government is sleeping on the wheel and has left the country’s economy to deteriorate to such a point that livelihoods have been destroyed.

It is quite a serious anomaly that such a large number of pupils are coming from homes where their parents are struggling to make ends meet.

If Zimbabwe is, indeed, open for business, why is there such a huge number of parenting citizens who are failing to be employed and paid decent wages?

And for those who are gainfully employed, why is it that their wages and salaries are failing to sustain them and their families to the point of them failing to send their children to school?

For months now, civil servants, whose children are undoubtedly among the millions of kids who are failing to access basic education, have been crying for decent salaries to no avail and government seems unperturbed.

Something is definitely awfully wrong.

Instead of concentrating on trying to be seen as a caring government by dishing out freebies to citizens in the form of free education, government should be busy creating a conducive environment whereby nationals are able to fend for themselves and school their own children.

When the majority of Zimbabwean nationals are able to decently look after themselves, government can then concentrate on looking after the vulnerable in society, who are quite sizeable by the way.

It is not sustainable for almost the entire nation to be vulnerable and ever-dependent on government assistance as is becoming the case now as far as education is concerned.

Government should quickly fix the economy because the current state of affairs is not sustainable. A caring government never sleeps until its citizens have decent livelihoods.

It is high time our government did something about the general welfare of its citizens who are now wallowing in abject poverty to the point of failing to look after themselves in a country with such vast rich resources.