BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
GOVERNMENT yesterday announced plans to construct 3 000 new schools by 2025 to decongest learning institutions.
However, this is not the first time that government has announced plans to build more schools.
Addressing a post-Cabinet media briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said COVID-19 had triggered the need for additional school infrastructure.
“The nation is informed that the country has realised a phenomenal increase in learner enrolment, and this has resulted in the need for the establishment of more primary and secondary schools,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said statistics showed that 37,3% of the country’s estimated population, about 4 659 993, were school-going children.
“More schools are needed to accommodate the projected increase to 5 657 412 for the school-going age group. The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the demand for new schools and additional school infrastructure so as to decongest existing boarding schools,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said government would prioritise construction of secondary schools.
Zimbabwe has 6 798 primary and 2 980 government secondary schools, with a total enrolment of 4 659 993 pupils.
“Government will partner both private and public firms to fund the construction of the schools,” Mutsvangwa added.
“Treasury will fund the first 144 schools, while public-private or joint venture arrangements will be crafted to assist in the construction of 3 000 new schools required.”
“Some existing day schools will be converted into boarding schools, while some low-cost boarding facilities will be constructed at existing schools as the need arises.”