Nesia Mhaka and Ellen Chasokela
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima has challenged stakeholders and parents to ensure that children in remote areas have access to state-of-the-art facilities.
Minister Mavima said this after commissioning an Early Child Development (ECD) Centre at Eaglesvale Junior School last week.
He also said all children should have access to free basic education.
“This is an excellent centre (the new ECD Centre) with computers, internet and audio visual facilities which means that the 60 fortunate youngsters here have access to state-of-the-art facilities.
“You have supported us as the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in rolling out and mainstreaming ECD education, we started the entire process in 2004, but had few schools with ECD centres.
“In 2013, we pushed for Zimbabweans to understand that our education system now starts at ECD-A with four-year-olds and continues in primary school to Grade Seven, which means now a learner has to take nine years in the primary educational sector. We did not do it to punish our learners, but we did it because it is the right thing to do because there is overwhelming evidence that if learners start early there will be a payoff in terms of their performance,” he said.
Prof Mavima challenged all education stakeholders and parents to mobilise, brainstorm to come up with a system that brings free basic education to the country so that those children who are underprivileged can benefit.
“What can we do as a nation about the potential lawyers, engineers and doctors in schools which are in marginalised areas such as Binga or Chimanimani who are underprivileged?
“It is our duty as the nation to build facilities in such schools so that all students can access quality education. Education benefits the entire nation, if it is not provided then the nation is doing itself a disservice.
“The Bill has been drafted, when we resume sitting it will be tabled in Parliament. The Constitution says that learners from Grade One to Seven should have their education funded because that is basic education. The law basically enjoins the State to progressively fund every child’s education,’’ he said.