Elliot Ziwira-Senior Reporter
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on Monday received 13 off-road vehicles and 34 motorbikes from the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), UKAID and the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) aimed at empowering the girl child.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Harare, the permanent secretary in the ministry Mrs Tumisang Thabela, said the donation came at an opportune moment, as it would bolster their capacity to monitor and inspect schools in 34 districts countrywide, particularly in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic. The vehicles will be used in support of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) Zimbabwe.
“These motor vehicles will be deployed to 13 Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education districts, while the motorcycles will be deployed to 34 districts in order to support ongoing education programmes,” said Mrs Thabela.
Two UKAID supported bilateral programmes: Teacher Effectiveness and Equitable Access (TEACH) for all Children, implemented by UNICEF and the Zimbabwe Girls Secondary Education (ZGSE), executed through CAMFED, are also set to be boosted by the support.
Mrs Thabela acknowledged CAMFED’s 27-year presence in Zimbabwe, saying the collaboration between the ministry and the organisation has seen 29 districts benefiting in the country. She said the Government, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, was obligated to provide inclusive education to all citizens, as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe under Section 75, sub-section (1) Amendment (No.20) Act of 2013.
“In our strategies as a ministry we totally acknowledge our obligation to marginalised communities and marginalised children, as we emphasise on the need to focus resources on those with the greatest need, and address the inequities between schools, districts and provinces,” she said.
Through partnerships, social justice can be achieved in education as the Government, though playing its mandatory role in supporting citizens’ collective aspirations, is constrained resource-wise, Mrs Thabela underscored.
“We have made so many strides in the last few years, including provision of school improvement grants for infrastructure development, provision of learning materials and training of our teachers.
“Most importantly, we have the roadmap of where we should go and the curriculum to ensure the quality of our product,” she said
Speaking at the same occasion, the UK’s FCDO development director Ms Geraldine O’Callaghan said on behalf of the UK, she lauded the Government’s commitment to educate Zimbabwe’s children regardless of gender, background or locale.
“The recent signing of the Kenyatta Declaration, which commits the Government to increase its share of the budget allocated to the education sector to 20 percent by 2025, is a huge step forward,” Ms O’Callaghan said, adding,
“We commend the Government for making this commitment and look forward to seeing this commitment reflected in the 2022 budget.”
The recipient districts for the 13 off-roaders are Chipinge, Mbire, Mudzi, Mwenezi, Binga, Bubi, Beitbridge, Gokwe North, Chirumanzu, Bulawayo Central, Lupane, Kariba, and Mhondoro-Ngezi.