Children’s education mustn’t be sacrificed

via Children’s education mustn’t be sacrificed – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 8, 2015

SCHOOLS across the country will open today amid reports that many parents have been forced to send their children to school after only paying half their fees owing to the biting economic crisis.

It was always a matter of time before the far-reaching implications of the recent massive job cuts sparked by the July 17 Supreme Court ruling that gave employers the right to fire workers on three months’ notice started knocking on people’s doors.

Although there seems to be a respite, we believe it is only a brief breathing window as children will only be accepted back into most schools on the strength of their parents/guardians’ assurance that the balance of the fees would be settled before the end of the month.

Clearly, there are thousands of parents who may have failed to raise even the half fees just to ensure that their children are accepted back into school.

This is the grim reality of Zimbabwe’s current political and socio-economic logjam and one is left wondering if the Zanu PF government still has the interests of the people at heart.

The sad reality is the fact that the effect of the whirlwind that swept almost 30 000 workers away from their jobs is hitting hard on the innocent school-going children.

While the parents are guaranteed three months’ salaries, there is no indication whatsoever whether they will get those monies and what that means in essence is that they will have to find the money elsewhere.

The greatest fear is that there could be an unprecedented rise in school dropouts as parents struggle to raise enough money for school fees as many of them are now jobless following the recent job cuts, while there is also uncertainty in the informal sector from which the majority of people have been eking out a living.

To make matters worse, a civil service audit has also resulted in the withdrawal of salaries for over 3 000 teachers deemed to be “ghost workers” simply because they were either on leave or out of station.

This state of affairs in Zimbabwe spells doom for the education system.

It is the dream of every parent to ensure that their children get the best education, something that had become almost a tradition in this country which boasts of high literacy levels on the continent

However, indications are that this is going to be highly unlikely because soon, schools will start demanding the balance and if parents fail to raise the cash, their children will be kicked out of school until such a time when the money is available.

This situation is even worse for the parents already battling to meet their other obligations such as rentals, food and utility bills when most of them no longer have a guaranteed source of income.

No doubt, the job cuts which have affected both the private and public sectors are wreaking havoc on the welfare of most families.

We believe that the Zanu PF government should self-introspect. The political, social and economic decline that President Robert Mugabe has presided over 35 years should not be allowed to affect the future of this country — the children — simply because of the statuses of their parents.