HARARE – At least seven percent of school children stayed away from school due to illness linked to malnutrition in one month this year, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) 2017 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report states.
The report implored on government to increase the school feeding programme to deal with the issue of malnourishment.
“The proportion of children not attending school due to illness is a cause for concern.
We recommend the prioritisation of resource- allocation towards the strengthening of school feeding and school health programmes,” the report reads.
Poverty and malnutrition were said to be the main drivers of the illnesses.
The food consumption score reflects that there has been an increase in the proportion of rural households consuming poor diets. According to the survey, the households constituted 16 percent while about 45 percent were consuming unacceptable diets.
Rural children are also experiencing other hindrances such as financial constraints in attaining education.
The Zimvac report states that 42 percent of children were also not in school during the survey due to financial constraints.
“The proportion of children not in school due to financial constrains remains significant.
“There is need for the government to increase Basic Education Assistance Module funds so that vulnerable children can be supported,” it reads.
“We therefore recommend some income generating projects for rural households to be initiated.”
Nationally, at least 63 percent of children experienced being turned away for non-payment of school fees.
“Generally, the proportion of children who were turned away from school during the first term of 2017 was high in all provinces. The high proportion of children who were turned away from school due to non-payment of school fees is worrisome.
“This calls for stricter monitoring of the implementation of government policy for universal primary education and its complimentary policy which states that no children should be denied access to schooling for failure to pay school fees,” the report reads.