Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Correspondent
THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Matabeleland South last week embarked on an outreach programme to raise awareness and promote equitable and inclusive access to education.
The campaign held under the theme “Leaving no learner behind, building back better despite the Covid-19 pandemic” was held in Insiza District.
Topical issues included encouraging every child to return to school, shun discrimination of various groups as well as precautions pertaining to Covid-19. Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director Mrs Beatrice Manjere said one of the objectives of the outreach was to eliminate barriers to equitable and inclusive access to education.
“From the 31st of August to the 4th of September we had a programme called Integrated Primary and Secondary Education Service phase through outreach. This programme was meant to reach out to every pupil and parent throughout the region. Our theme is ‘Living no learner behind: building back better regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic’,” she said.
While highlighting some of the barriers, Mrs Manjere confirmed that Covid-19 had affected the traditional learning system of pupils.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in prolonged school closure which has affected the traditional system resulting in our learners losing a lot of learning time.
“As a Ministry we are saying no discrimination against children with disabilities, ethnic or cultural differences. No discrimination against orphans and vulnerable children. No discrimination against girls who fall pregnant. All barriers should not succeed in blocking access to education. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care has a standard operating procedure for the prevention and management of Covid-19 and other influenza like diseases,” said Mrs Manjere.
Ward 4 in Insiza representative Ms Nothando Nkomo said some pupils were still facing challenges of school fees.
“Some pupils failed to register for exams. Most schools charge between US$10-15 (primary) and US$40 which most parents can’t afford because of the lockdown.
“The other challenge is network problem which is a disadvantage to on online lessons and most cannot afford the gadgets. There are three primary schools and one secondary in Ward 4,” said Mrs Nkomo.
The campaign covered areas that include Mbondweni and Lalani Shopping centres, Mahole, Filabusi 2, Maruvambo and Theleka shopping centres.