BY WALLACE MAWIRE IN HARARE :
Zimbabwe’s Education Transition Fund (ETF) meant to revitalize the country’s education sector has received a boost of US$52 million for vital education support to over 5 500 primary schools.
The ETF was made possible with assistance from the European Commission (EC),governments of Australia,Denmark,Finland,Germany,Japan,
Netherlands,Norway,New-Zealand,United Kingdom and the United States.
According to Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, education remains the most vital component for Zimbabwe’s long-term recovery.
He says that it has a role in national development as well as being a key contribution to long-term recovery and development of the economy as
human capital is built.
The Education Trust Fund which has received support from European countries is a government project established in Zimbabwe in 2009 to improve the quality of education.Education was negatively affected by the social and economic downturn which prevailed since 2000, according to Minister of Education, David Coltart.
“This was aggravated by the hyper-inflationery conditions of 2008-2009.As a result, delivery system in education deteriorated alarmingly,” Coltart says.
This resulted in increase of pupil drop-out rate,teachers leaving the profession, increased brain drain,parents not affording to pay school fees, deterioration of school infrastructure,pupil/book ratio increased to 1:15 on average and many children could not come to school due to hunger and poverty.
Due to the injection of this amount, the inclusive government of Zimbabwe, the international donor community and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have launched a massive nationwide distribution exercise that will see all 5 575 primary schools in Zimbabwe receive supplies,stationery and every child in primary school across the country receive a text book in all the four core subjects.
The next phase of the ETF will focus on improving teacher’s guides,textbooks for marginalized indigenous languages textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education ,braille and to focus on the secondary schools sector.