‘Ventures will create more revenue for schools’
The recent Cabinet resolution for schools to commercialise education is a critical component that will provide an additional revenue stream for many learning facilities that are struggling to stay afloat outside the school fees revenue.
This was said by the Permanent Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Ms Thumisang Thabela while presenting the Secretary’s Merit Award to Dulivhadzimu Primary School in Beitbridge recently.
The school was awarded a total of $1,3 million dollars for the development of a “Smart Classroom”, one tablet for the head, a certificate and a plaque.
She said the schools were expected to venture into income-generating projects which are in tandem with the National Development Strategy (NDS1), which aims at creating an upper-middle-class economy by the year 2030.
Ms Thabela said the commercialisation of education will help some schools to cover operational costs which are not covered by the usual tuition fees.
A number of schools that embraced the concept, she said, had managed to sustain operations during the Covid-19 induced lockdowns through revenue raised from such projects.
“With such background, I want to urge all our schools to comply with the Government’s directive that we must commercialise education,” said the Secretary.
“The Ministry’s desire is that these projects eventually advance into registered industries and contribute to the growth of the economy.
“As I toured this school (Dulivhadzimu Primary), I noticed that they are running a variety of quick wins which include; poultry, vegetable garden, a tuck shop, making chips, baking, herbal garden, and the production of liquid fertiliser and the manufacturing of dish washing liquid”.
She said alternative business projects, would in the long run help to keep school fees low at the same time offering valuable knowledge and life skills to learners.
Ms Thabela the commercialisation of education was also in tandem with her ministry’s 21st vision to see the competence-based curriculum becoming a vehicle for the development of knowledge and skills and the production of goods and services.
The viability of such projects, she said, has been witnessed in cases where some schools managed to absorb the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have had scenarios, where some schools almost faced a total collapse as their debts mounted due to the lack of fees during the covid1 related closure of schools. These are indeed learning curves,” she added.
Ms Thabela said it was also critical for educationists to embrace the use of e-learning in their schools as the world had now embraced the use of ICT facilities as a learning tool.