It is govt mandate to fund education

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa last week flew into a storm in Kuwadzana, Harare, when residents bared their soul to him, profusely complaining about the ever-increasing cost of living.The residents lamented the continued increase in council rates, prices of meat, maize-meal and schools fees.

With the schools’ first term opening next Tuesday, it’s apparent most parents will find it extremely difficult to meet fees requirements, especially for children in private boarding schools.

Already there are reports that some parents are transferring their children from private to public boarding schools after fees were hiked to between $3 000 and $100 000 depending on the school.
Mnangagwa told the Kuwadzana residents that the government would crack the whip on schools that would increase fees without approval.

But taking punitive measures against the schools won’t wash because they hiked fees in response to the economic situation in the country.

It is the economy which should be turned around by Mnangagwa and his government.

Given the economic imperatives, it’s incumbent upon the government to come up with an education funding model to cushion the suffering ordinary people. It is the mandate of the government and its citizens to find cheaper ways to fund the education of our children, the future leaders and captains of industry of the country.

The government cannot arrogate and contract our future to donors. We have relied on donors for too long; and time has come for the nation to future-proof the country by strategically and wisely investing in our children.

Obviously, we need donors to assist us to a certain extent. Over the years, the country surrendered its sovereign right to funding education to the donor community. We have to be in charge of our education system and this entails us investing heavily in it. A large chunk of our national budget should go into three key strategic areas – education, health and social security nets.

We need a government that takes care of its poor by providing affordable and quality health and education.

The government needs alternative sources of funds to ensure that children are learning in classrooms despite our economic hardships.

Zimbabwe prides itself as one of the most educated nations in Africa and the world. It needs to maintain that status by continuously investing in education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

This can only be achieved through strategic investment in the sector and by not relying too much on donors. Education is power and we should cling to it tenaciously!

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