via 1 400 schools condemned | The Herald January 17, 2014 by Lloyd Gumbo
GOVERNMENT has condemned 1 400 satellite schools countrywide whose infrastructure is unsuitable for learning and has pledged to erect proper structures.
Most of the schools are in resettlement areas.Speaking before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Education, Sport, Art and Culture, the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Rogers Sisimayi said Government plans to build 276 new schools to address the situation. The committee is chaired by Hurungwe West legislator Cde Themba Mliswa.
“We have 833 satellite primary schools that would require new structures. We need 587 secondary schools so that we stop them from operating under trees and tobacco barns giving us a total of 1 420,” said Mr Sisimayi.
He said the US$866 million allocated to the Ministry under the 2014 national budget out of its initial bid of about $1, 23 billion is inadequate for the construction projects given that 96 percent of the allocation will go to employment costs.
Legislators said it was unsustainable for employment costs to chew up 96 percent of the budget adding that there was need to streamline the workforce.
Mr Sisimayi however said the ministry’s workforce would instead be increased when new schools were built.
“We have 346 schools that are congested. Mega schools accommodating over 3 000 pupils.
“We need to decongest those schools and create new ones. When you do that it means additional teachers. We need at least 276 new schools, 195 primary and 81 secondary to meet the current demand,” he said.
Pupils who learn at satellite schools do so under squalid conditions in former tobacco barns that are small in size and without furniture.
Teachers have not been spared as the schools do not offer accommodation.
The development has seen the schools failing to attract qualified teachers.