Right to education not negotiable

HARARE - News that millions of children are likely to miss out on education makes very sad reading indeed.

In a society where meritocracy will one day dominate professional life, the consequences of missing out on education are too dire to contemplate.

Even if there are serious doubts about the value of education that children are getting in this country, everyone should have access to it.

If millions are going to miss out on education what future do they have and will they be material for development that will drive the country’s economy?

There should be urgent measures to make sure that all children access education without fail otherwise we risk breeding a society that will present a lot of serious challenges that will be very difficult to deal with.

Zimbabwe has a reputation to protect in terms of its educational levels and as such the State should make sure that every child, especially the less-privileged and vulnerable ones get a basic State-funded education.

The right to education is a constitutional obligation that must be fulfilled otherwise the country will have failed to uphold its very own home-grown Constitution.

According to The Constitution of Zimbabwe section 75 “every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to (a) a basic State-funded education, including adult basic education and (b) further education, which the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures, must make progressively available and accessible”

As such, no child should be out of school because it’s too expensive or whatever reason.

The State should move in and ensure that all children are in school where they are socialised and empowered to be good citizens who can contribute to the development of the country when they are expected to in future.

Education facilities should not just be available but should also be accessible in terms of affordability and being in their physical proximity so that children do not feel that going to school is a punishment and a bother.

While efforts by other individuals and organisations to build schools are quite noble, they should not take advantage and try to commodify education.

Education will and should never be seen as a commodity, it should always be a social good.

If those who established schools think that they can make a killing by charging exorbitant fees, then the State should quickly remind them that denial of access to education through such greedy moves is not the right way to do things in a country which has the goal of empowering its citizens through worthwhile and sustainable education.

This disturbing trend where schools charge high levy fees with school development committees infested by parents who are benefitting from supplying goods through clandestine tenders should be stopped.

Some school heads have developed an unquenchable appetite for money to the extent that they see a dollar sign on every child.

Things are hard for everyone and as such high fees have no justification whatsoever.

In a country that is facing deflation it does not make sense to charge very high fees as the people will not be in a position to pay.

The situation in newly-built urban areas resembles a Charles Dickens “bleeding heart yard” in his book Little Dorit with children going in almost every direction in search of educational facilities.

Some are attending school in homes and make shift structures where they are at risk of being emotionally and physically abused by untrained teachers some with character traits that do not allow them to be anywhere near children, even dead ones.

Although it might seem to be a radical suggestion, at this point in time the State should make it unlawful for any child to be ejected out of school because of non-payment of fees.

Children are the future and they should get nothing but the best, their right to education is not negotiable.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.