A consortium of civic groups led by the Tag a Life International (TaLI) on Thursday launched an ambitious campaign dubbed “Every Child in School campaign” aimed at advocating for free education for all disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe.
Addressing a press briefing in Harare on Thursday, TALI Director Nyaradzo Mashayamombe called on government to urgently restore the legacy of Zimbabwe by allowing the hundreds of thousands of marginalized children who are out of primary school owing to a number of reasons.
“We are asking for the minister of education to release a circular to this effect immediately so that those children who are out of primary school because they could not pay the required school fees be given places in public schools and not be discriminated,
“These children should have access by the second week of January 2018 when all schools open,” said Mashayamombe.
A report cited by TALI estimates that more than a million school age children are at the risk of either dropping out of school or not enrolling at all.
“6.6% of primary and 20.6% of secondary school children were not in school in 2014 (Child Labor Survey 2014) and 68% of these children failed to enroll in school due to financial reasons leading to 23.3% failing to complete primary education whilst 58% were just demotivated to enroll,
“We highlight the Zimbabwe 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 realization of the right set out” (Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20),2013,” adding Mashayamombe.
She added that the “Every Child in School” initiative understands that education is a compulsory right for every Zimbabwean child in accordance with Section 75 of the constitution.
Mashayamombe acknowledged that the Zimbabwean government has been making strides in facilitating state-funded education in accordance to its mandate in the Education policy, however she noted that more than 350 000 pupils failed to access facilities such as BEAM owing to bureaucratic incompetence.