Government, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, has struck a deal with a Belgian bank through which the latter will help build 166 schools under a programme aimed at addressing the shortage of schools in the country.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora said this yesterday while addressing residents at Grace Primary School in Hatcliffe Extension, who are currently complaining that their community only has two primary and secondary schools viewed as inadequate to cater for the ballooning population.
“On August 11, I signed a document with a Government bank, IDBZ, which also engaged a Belgian bank to help us build schools under a joint venture exercise,” said Dr Dokora.
“This means I will need private capital and individual companies, who will come forward with a suggestion to help us build a school at Consortium, Marondera and other places.
“You will be then asked to pay back the money, say, over a period of 10 or 15 years. This is another concept, which we took in addition to the building fund we introduced. I have since put the request before Cabinet to allow me the chance and see how it works; and if it does, I will be able to build all these schools in two to three years.”
He said though Government had proposed 100 schools only, the ministry has decided to go the extra mile.
“When I signed with this company, we considered building 166 school units. This was after Cabinet only asked me to do 100 schools, but I saw the shortage and increased the number.
“This means I will be able to have teachers’ houses constructed at a certain school and move to the next. The company I signed the documents with should report back to us by end of September, telling us if this is feasible or not. This is the only way to help Government address this problem.”
He said currently the country has a shortage of 2 056 schools.
New schools, he also added, should have teachers’ houses.
“I no longer want teachers from outside, but if we give them houses, they will go to work knowing fully that it is in sync with their status. On executing their duties, we then give them guidelines on how they should perform,” he said.
Dr Samuel Undenge, who also accompanied Dr Dokora to the same event to address residents’ grievances on delays in connecting them to the grid, said Government will soon attend to the problem.
“The people here are already working with Zesa in terms of digging the lines and purchasing poles. I am going to sit down with Zesa and see how we can speed up progress.”
Ward 42 Member of the National Assembly Tongesai Mudambo said power lines, some of which bypass the area, should be tapped to supply power to the community.