via Govt must invest in education: Coltart | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe
The new government needs to ensure “massive” investment in the education sector to guard against further deterioration of standards, outgoing Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart, has said.
Coltart said the education sector was critical to the development of the country hence the need to ensure that it is prioritised. He said it was imperative for the next government to ensure that competent people were entrusted with the running of the country’s education sector.
“The future of the education sector depends on who is appointed as Minister of Education and the level of support that person gets from Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance. It’s critical for the next government to make education a priority.
“Education survives with adequate funding and if they starve the education sector of funding, we will see education standards falling. The bottom line is that education needs massive investment,” said Coltart.
Coltart acknowledged the progress made by the inclusive government in bringing sanity back to the education sector, which he said had been “under-funded for the last couple of years”.
He, however, played down fears that Zimbabwe’s contested election could lead to donors pulling out their support.
“I think you would acknowledge that the donor community that supported Zimbabwe’s education sector is very much concerned about children and I doubt very much that they will change their attitude. They are likely to continue with their support of the education sector,” he said.
Before the formation of the inclusive government, Zimbabwe’s education sector suffered a critical shortage of funding that saw a significant drop in standards and the situation was worsened by the exodus of teachers who went to seek greener pastures in neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana.
In 2010, the situation was however rescued by the launch of the Education Transition Fund, a multi-donor funding mechanism.
The ETF was launched by the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, in partnership with UNICEF and the international donor community.