Talent Chimutambgi and Nyasha Mlambo
The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has donated 3 000 bicycles as part of efforts to deliver quality education to marginalised children in rural areas by reducing the time they spend travelling to school.
The launch was held under the Zimbabwe Girls Secondary Education (ZGSE) programme.
The donation was channelled through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in partnership with Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) yesterday in Harare, and the bicycles will be distributed to 29 districts in Zimbabwe in order to support vulnerable students.
Speaking during the launch, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela said the programme would go a long way in fulfilling the obligations of Sustainable Development Goal number 4 and 2030 Education Development Agenda.
“It is in this context that emphasis to equitable access to education should be given space in fulfilment of the obligations of SDG4 and the 2030 Education Development Agenda, as well as the government of Zimbabwe’s current principles on mobilising resources to support government programmes in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme,” she said.
Mrs Thabela said all citizens were entitled to the right to basic State-funded education in line with the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“Section 75, sub-section (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Act 2013, ‘Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic State-funded education and further education, which the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures must make progressively available and accessible’.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe enshrines the right to education,” she said.
CAMFED is an organisation which has for long been agitating for the girl-child education support for 25 years and has provided secondary school bursaries to girls from poor, rural communities with the government of Zimbabwe through Primary and Secondary Education ministry.
The Ministry applauded CAMFED and DFID for the positive interventions which highly impact on transforming the education system.
“This intervention from CAMFED and DFID strengthens the building of positive social responsibility to enhance access to inclusive, quality education to the marginalised communities, which should be everyone’s responsibility,” said Mrs Thabela.
She urged children to take advantage of such opportunities aimed at enhancing their education.
“To all children, I implore you to honour your right to education by embracing the opportunities at your disposal,” said Mrs Thabela.
“I commend each one of you for the enormous efforts you are already making in this regard.”
Addressing the same gathering, CAMFED National Director Zimbabwe, Mrs Faith Nkala expressed concern over the long distances pupils walk to access education, adding that the donation of bicylces would assist in reducing challenges they face on their way to school.
“We all know too well of the many children living too far away from their nearest secondary schools,” she said. “Children who are walking up to 10 kilometres often go through dangerous terrain, threatened by wild animals, storms or floods.”
“They often arrive at school tired, and too hungry to learn.”