MUTARE– Victims of Cyclone Idai which struck the country and parts of Southern Africa, have failed to access quality education with their learning repeatedly disturbed for over three years.
Cyclone Idai, one of worst tropical cyclones, struck Zimbabwe in March 2019 did not only destabilize livelihoods for communities but has affected education for kids according to a social economic justice coalition.
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) director Janet Zhou in remarks made during commemoration of the Global Week against Inequality said the combination of the cyclone and lockdown have been brutal on survivors of Idai.
Zhou said despite these variegated impacts on vulnerable government has not been forthcoming in how it utilized the Covid 19 bailout package.
“When we talk of inequalities we refer for example to survivors of Cyclone Idai and now because of Covid 19 pandemic, who have failed to access proper education for over three years now because of these disturbances,” she said.
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Takudzwa Ngadziore says poor families have been disenfranchised from accessing their right to education despite an obligation for government ensure that education is accessible and affordable.
Ngadziore speaking on rising inequalities impact as the sector education sectors, he sensationally claimed that education is now in the graveyard due, another pandemic he said is festering during COVID 19 pandemic.
“While we look at the context of Zimbabwe, the coming or introduction of e learning has seen those who are poor being disenfranchised in the education sector. Those who are privileged continuing to learn and this a worrying trend which must be addressed.
“We have another pandemic in which the introduction of e learning has seen other children in remote areas and also others who are within the urban areas being taken away from their Section 75 right to education which must be accessible and affordable,” he said.
ZIMCODD is part of a CSO coalition against inequality ‘The Fight Inequality Alliance in Zimbabwe which has also raised alarm over glaring gender inequalities between men and women, as well as the food insecurity and malnutrition in children which have become a pervasive public concern.
In a combined press statement the civic organisations called for government to end its austerity measures, increased public expenditure to improve basic social service delivery with a priority focus on universal public services, including health, water and education.
“In Zimbabwe, inequalities are manifesting in many forms which include the disparity between private and public school with those from private schools continuing to learn online whilst those from public schools are not learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has laid bare the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on different groups leaving the majority poor worse off in a context of austerity, over taxation, weak social protection mechanisms and rampant corruption in the distribution of resources.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities largely through increased unpaid care work by women especially in a context where pubic healthcare and social service delivery in general are overwhelmed,” read part of the CSOs alliance statement.
Members the alliance also include Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, Poverty Reduction Forum Trust, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Transparency International Zimbabwe, Action Aid, Combined Harare Residents Association, Women Law in Southern Africa Zimbabwe and ZINASU.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicates that the richest 10 percent have up to 40 percent of global income whereas the poorest 10percent earn only between 2 to 7 percent, with global inequality having increased by 11% in recent past, it could get worse.
Oxfam’s 2020 Inequality Report, which surveyed nearly 300 economists from around the world says the virus will exacerbate inequalities, gender by 56%, racial (66%), wealth (78%) and income (87%) across the world.