Noah Pito in Hurungwe
Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) in Mashonaland West Province has adopted a resolution that compels all its 244 schools to insure their buildings against natural disasters in an effort to ensure uninterrupted learning.
The council, which owns the bulk of the schools in the district, now expects the institutions to use council receipt books with security features as a way of enforcing financial discipline and accountability.
It is also now mandatory for the schools to use steel trusses in the construction and repair of classroom roofs.
Chief executive officer, Mr Jorum Misheck Moyo, said the new regulations would be operational at the start of the next school term.
He said the new regulations had the net effect of cutting unnecessary expenses in the schools while at the same time benefiting schoolchildren and parents.
“These resolutions were unanimously adopted by council on the basis of merit. Imagine each time rains come, children end up learning in the open enduring adverse weather conditions for months or years because classroom roofs would have been blown away by hail storms. This results in the children’s education being compromised for months or years.
“Yet, with a suitable insurance plan against such tragedy, it is easy to repair the buildings and ensure that the children don’t lose out. In fact we do not want our schools to resort to begging in the event of such insurable disasters.
“We are not living in the medieval age. Schools should be self-contained entities, particularly in this aspect of replacing damaged infrastructure. We do not expect them to turn into beggars each time such disaster strikes,” said Mr Moyo.
Mr Moyo said his council had also adopted a resolution compelling all council schools to use steel trusses for guaranteed durability.
He said all HRDC schools would soon be supplied with council receipt books bearing security features to minimise fraud by school heads.
“There are some schools which for the past 20 to 30 years have been collecting building funds to replace structures destroyed by termites yet the use of steel structures can easily circumvent such problems. By using steel structures we are saying the schools will spend several years before any repairs become necessary,” he said.
Hurungwe District Education Officer, Mr Jason Dzveta, welcomed the new regulations that he said would mitigate some of the challenges the schools were facing in the district.
“Definitely the idea of insuring buildings against natural disasters is quite noble. To date many schools have gone for two to three years without roofs after falling victim to hailstorms. During this current rainy season about 10 schools had roofs blown away by storms and up to now the majority of them have not been replaced. We have several schools that still have failed to replace their roofs two or three years after they were destroyed, which could have been a different case had the buildings been insured,” said Mr Dzveta.
On the use of council receipt books with security features, Mr Dzveta said the move would protect the school funds and the school administrators’ jobs.