Ministry frets over non-viable schools

Obert Chifamba Eastern Edition
MOST satellite schools around Osbourne Dam in Mutasa District are failing to garner enrolment numbers enough to constitute a school, Manicaland provincial education officer Mr Edward Shumba has said.

For a school to be recognised under the secondary category, it has to have 320 students or more and the same applies for primary schools.

“As a ministry, we are getting concerned about non-viable schools, which have very few students. This is most probably because of financial constraints that have seen the schools developing at a very slow pace both in terms of infrastructure and educational commitments.

“Most of these satellite schools are not registered though they have been authorised to operate by the Government.

“We encourage such schools to concentrate on building their infrastructure to the required levels then invite Education and Health inspectors to inspect them before they can be recommended for registration,” Mr Shumba said in a telephone interview with The Herald Eastern Edition in Mutare yesterday.

Mr Shumba also voiced concern over suburbs like Hobhouse where there are lots of houses, but no proportional schools.

“In this residential suburb, children are walking long distances to schools in suburbs such as Dangamvura, Chikanga and Sakubva every day where there are schools. The distribution of schools in this case was skewed and is a big disadvantage to the children.

“Distribution of land was not proportional at all, as all land seems to have been taken for residential purposes only. The correct thing should have been a primary school for every 500 housing units or one secondary school and three primary schools for every 1 500 housing units. This proportional distribution of land has not been met in Hobhouse,” observed Mr Shumba.

He also added that where efforts to address the problem have been made, satellite schools have been established but they have not been able to satisfy the required standards.

Manicaland province has a total of 1 272 schools of which 871 are primary schools while 401 are secondary. Out of the 871 primary schools, 71 are satellite and therefore not registered while under the secondary bracket, 270 are registered while 131 are yet to be registered.

“The numbers for both secondary and primary are suffice for our purposes at the moment if it were not just for the poor distribution that saw some areas being systematically sidelined and getting very few schools while others were given enough or even surplus for their requirements,” Mr Shumba commented.

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