Rights groups want primary education for all

HARARE - Civil Society Organisations and rights groups have piled pressure on the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to ensure that every child attends primary school in 2018.

This comes as only 415 900 children are supported by Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) against a demand of more than 1 million children.

“We highlight the Constitution which, in section 75(a), stipulates that the State must take all practical measures to promote a basic State-funded and compulsory education for children. The State is also expected to take reasonable legislation and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of the right set out.

“We, however, note that it remains a fundamental and un-negotiated right for all these children who are out of school to be given a chance at education, just like those who are within the schools are protected by existing policies.

“The State has left this responsibility to the evidently struggling parents and guardians who constitute the majority of the unemployed population in Zimbabwe. As a result, many children are not enrolled in school,” read part of the petition seen by the Daily News.

Tag a Life International executive director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said investing in education was important in curbing the cycle of poverty and under-development.

She said failure to attend to this important cause was likely to result a whole generation of uneducated people owing to the deterioration of the education system and the commodification of education for all.

  “The high rates of child marriages, child labour, trans-generational poverty and the current numbers of failure of enrolment of many living below the poverty line are those failing to stay in school.

“All primary children should be enrolled in school beginning of January regardless of financial capabilities, disabilities, sex, race, and that all children must be able to access primary education without discrimination,” she said.

According to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, 50 percent of children in districts surveyed by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee  (Zimvac) 2017 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report were not attending school due to financial constraints, with the national non-attendance standing at 34 percent.

“According to the ministry of Labour and Social Services, Beam is funding school fees and examination fees for around 415 900 vulnerable children, against an estimated 1 045 480 in need of educational support.

“Government availed $1,5 million in 2017 towards payment of examination fees for 18 021 vulnerable children.

“This programme will be enhanced in the 2018 budget, with resources amounting to $20 million being set aside to support the Beam programme,” Chinamasa said.

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