BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
PARLIAMENT has implored government to, among other interventions, increase allowances for rural teachers to incentivise them to stay in marginalised communities as well as provide schools with ablution and learning facilities to cater for disabled children.
The demand was made in Parliament when Tsitsi Muzenda, a member of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals was presenting a report on the provision of quality education, sanitisation and hygiene management in schools.
Muzenda said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should ensure that schools have off-grid solar systems to ensure uninterrupted power supply in schools by December this year.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should come up with policy compliance measures that will enforce all schools to have ablution, classroom facilities that are inclusive of learners with disabilities and also the construction of enough and up-to standard ablution facilities so that the country meets the required standard squat whole ratios by June 2022,” Muzenda said.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should increase rural allowances for rural school teachers in order to retain skilled teachers who tend to shun rural areas for urban schools by December 2021.”
She added: “The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should ensure that learners have textbooks and learning material for the new curriculum by August 2021.
“The ministry should construct more schools, satellite and low-cost boarding facilities in the country to reduce the distances travelled by learners to and from school by April 2022.” Schools have been closed for the better part of the year due to COVID-19 restrictions, exposing the inequalities in societies where some pupils continues learning through online platforms while others have been shut out by lack of internet connectivity and electricity.
Muzenda implored the ministry to address the gaps that exist between rural and urban learners so that they enjoy the same privileges despite their different geographical locations.
Government, Muzenda said, should also ensure that all schools have internet connection to enable learners to access the e-learning portals across the country.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should in future, consider the provision of sanitary pads instead of pant liners. The latter is not effective in meeting the needs of girls during the menstrual cycle.”
Muzenda said the Education ministry should introduce school feeding programmes and nutritional gardens in secondary schools by January 2022.
She called for the ministry to cater for the plight of vulnerable learners and put in place necessary infrastructure that will not disadvantage them.