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HomeNewsIntroduce Education Fund For Vulnerable Pupils, Govt Told

Introduce Education Fund For Vulnerable Pupils, Govt Told

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MUTARE– Rural teachers have called on government to urgently introduce and disburse an education fund to vulnerable rural communities to bridge the widening inequality gap worsened by the advent of online education.

Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (ATRUZ) made these demands as part of the #SaveOurEducationZW campaign aimed at redeeming the country’s education sector from the ‘intensive care unit’, following years of neglect.

ATRUZ secretary general, Robson Chere said to stem decline in the education sector, government must urgently establish a financial assistance scheme for poor families and students in rural areas who have been condemned to idleness.

Chere said government should introduce an Educational Equalization Fund to bridge huge inequalities which have worsened with the advent of online learning, in remarks during a virtual dialogue hosted by Zimbabwe Allied Diamond Workers Union (ZIDAWU).

“As ARTUZ we have launched a campaign titled #SaveOurEducationZW which we have undertaken as teachers, to spearhead revival of the education sector which is now in the intensive care unit because of years of gross negligence and mismanagement by our government.

“We are calling for the introduction of the Educational Equalization Fund which will bridge that gap. We, will fight for our students to receive quality education so in this respect you should see that our resolve is greater,” he said.

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Chere said inequality has reared its ugly head in the Education sector, particularly in mining communities and rural areas, where standards of education have declined disproportionately in comparison to urban areas.

He said #SaveOurEducationZW proffers a holistic approach to spearhead revival of the education sector, by not only focusing on teacher welfare, but addressing root challenges

“This campaign is not only looking at teacher welfare but at every factor that is affecting our education like quality of education, the gap between urban and rural schools to be addressed.

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“Rural schools are operating with dilapidated infrastructure, limited stationery such as textbooks and learning while new technology like computers is absent as most rural schools are not connected to electricity,” said Chere.

Government has clashed with teachers on several occasions, over poor remuneration and poor living conditions, while schools in rural areas are using old infrastructure, with school buildings built several years back now dilapidated.

In mining areas young girls fall into early marriages, after primary school few get through to high school as their financial vulnerability is ruthless exploited for sexual favors exposing them to early pregnancies and early marriages.

Vimbai Betere, director of Conscious Development Trust (CODET) an organization pushing for youth participation in socioeconomic activities and decision making, said mining companies are shortchanging communities.

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Betere said mining investors are operating on a social licence from communties, should also contribute to development of education in their areas of operation as part of CSR (corporate social responsibility) to develop host communities.

Young girls, must also be afforded equal development opportunities, as many are often forced out of school because of teenage pregnancies and are ultimately forced into child marriages because of the allure of money in mining areas, said Betere.

“Our biggest challenge is not having this (CSR) as a binding law that is enforceable within our constitution. So the key issues as the supreme law of the land which is our constitution should provide clear provisions that ensure citizens can demand without force that which is rightfully ours

“We also have to ensure that we continuously capacitate our communities to be active citizens in such issues, using the law to factor in our agenda and demand accountability,” she said.

She added, “Young women should be mainstreamed in all opportunities that are available to foster gender balance within our education sector as well as in the mining industry to ensure we achieve the 50/50 gender parity as a country.”

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