Education bill should  enhance quality in sector

EDITOR — Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Artuz notes the strides made by government in modernising our education system through the Education Act Amendment Bill of 2018.

We note the thrust of improving accessibility of education through the emphasis of state- funded basic education.

We, however, noted gaps in addressing areas of safety in schools, teacher welfare, and decentralisation of educational planning and funding and holistic mechanisms of enhancing equality in education sector.

Artuz is guided by its vision of realising labour justice and quality education in rural schools. 
In our view the bill should engender a framework of marching towards the realisation of this noble vision.

On equality in education sector —  Section 56 (3) of the Zimbabwean Constitution outlaws discrimination of persons on the basis of place of birth among other premises. 
Learners in rural outposts are being discriminated when it comes to accessing education.

The schools are either in bad shape or completely not available. The accessibility, acceptability, adaptability and quality, (3AQ) of rural education is always found wanting.
Section 75 of the same Constitution guarantees the right to basic education.
Introducing State-funded basic education alone is not enough to deal with the challenges of the 3AQs. 

The State should further set up a model of constructing modern infrastructure in rural schools and retaining and attracting competent teachers in the same areas.
The Education Act should clearly spell out norms and standards of what an ideal school should be like. 

We can come up with our own norms and standards and incorporate them in the bill. Schools which are deemed to be falling short of the set norms and standards should be classified as sub-standard schools.

The Act should further provide for setting up an education equalisation fund. Such a fund should be used to upgrade the facilities in the substandard schools.

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