Children take ministers to task

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Children take ministers to task
Child President Pious Nleya inspects the parade in Mt Hampden yesterday. – Pictures: Believe Nyakudjara.

Wallace RuzvidzoHerald Reporter 

CHILDREN yesterday had a rare opportunity to quiz Cabinet ministers on issues affecting them during an interactive session of Child Parliamentarians with President Mnangagwa and his lieutenants at the New Parliament Building in Mount Hampden.

Among issues raised were access to health and education, especially bridging the technology gap between rural and urban areas.

In that regard, access to internet services as well as other Information Communication Technologies was a topical issue raised by Child Parliamentarians.

The children said as the world becomes increasingly technology driven, it was important that all schools, even in the most remote areas, move along with global trends.

Responding to the issues raised, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Tatenda Mavetera said President Mnangagwa had afforded all the Junior MPs gadgets to use in the discharge of their duties.

She said each of them would have their tablets by August 1.

“They went on to request some gadgets, and I would like to announce, and I want to thank His Excellency for giving each and everyone of you Junior MPs, a tablet that you will be working with.

“I want to thank His Excellency for also making sure that his digitalisation agenda goes to good use,” Minister Mavetera said.

The ICT Minister said schools across the country continued to be equipped with internet services, as well as the requisite hardware.

“Computers for all and internet for all, that is the thrust our President has. We are also working towards virtual classrooms,” she said.

Higher and Tertiary Education Innovation Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said the introduction of the Heritage-based Education 5.0 would see the youth becoming active participants in the country’s development.

“Education and poverty cannot exist in the same sentence. Wisdom normally goes with age but sometimes age goes alone. To make sure that age does not go alone we introduced Heritage-based Education 5.0,” said Prof Murwira.

Ministers and junior parliamentarians follow proceedings during the official opening of the 32nd Junior Parliament yesterday.  Picture: Innocent Makawa.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Torerai Moyo, said Government has embarked on a programme to construct schools so as to reduce the distance learners travel to class to less than five kilometres.

He said Government, through Treasury and other development partners, was working tirelessly to have more schools to ensure access to education.

“Some of the measures include BEAM (Basic Education Assistance Module) to afford education to disadvantaged children. On long distances, Government has deliberately allocated funds for the construction of schools,” Dr Moyo said.

In his address at the official opening of the 32nd Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe, which was presided over by President Mnangagwa, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training, Tino Machakaire, said the continued support of the youth was vital not only for their growth and development, but that of the country.

“For the past 32 years, the Junior Parliament has given young people an opportunity to express their views and concerns to the Presidium, Cabinet, Government officials and Members of the Senate and Parliament. 

“At the same time, the programme gives them the privilege of having their submissions responded to at the highest level of Government.

“The ministry’s vision is to have an empowered youth actively participating in national development,” he said.

The Junior Parliament, said Minister Machakaire, was one such initiative aimed at youth development, while harnessing their energy and enabling them to be part and parcel of Government efforts towards the attainment of Vision 2030.

“We continuously enhance this programme in an effort to improve youth engagement. 

“Whereas it used to be a platform for children in school, I am pleased to inform you that the Junior Senate of this Parliament is now made up of out-of-school young people, with some being former Child Parliamentarians, who are now in tertiary institutions and other settings.

“We found it important to capture their voices too,” he said.

Minister Machakaire said the continuous uplifting of the youth was in response to President Mnangagwa’s directive.

“We must continue engaging the young Parliamentarians even after their term of office has expired. 

“Indeed, as we all witnessed, the depth of the debate today was rich, and it will enhance Government programmes, policies and legislation. 

“The Old Parliament building, which now accommodates the Ministry of Youth, will also house activities of the Junior Parliament as well as other youth-related programmes,” he said.