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Farirai Machivenyika in CHIKOMBA

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has challenged the private sector to partner Government in the construction of schools and provision of other learning materials, saying the sector has scope for investment of up to US$4 billion.

The President said this at the commissioning of 17 schools, 11 primary and six secondary, at a special ceremony at Makumimavi Primary School in Chikomba West constituency, Mashonaland East Province.

The construction of the schools was financed through a US$22 million loan facility from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development.

“The education sector provides scope for investment which is estimated at US$4 billion. I, therefore, invite investors to take advantage of the investment prospects that the education sector has to offer.

US Dollars

“Opportunities have arisen for Public-Private Partnerships and joint ventures in the development of the sector, while creating long-term returns for various stakeholders,” President Mnangagwa said.

He called on investors in the education sector to focus on building classroom blocks, laboratories, technical and vocational workshops and sporting facilities.

There was a need for concrete measures to increase the development of learning and teaching materials for Early Childhood Development that was reflective of Zimbabwe’s culture and African identity.

“I thus, call upon content creators and publishing houses to ensure that local languages as well as brail are incorporated in the production of captivating reading and visual materials that connect our young learners with both local communities,” the President said.

The construction of the 17 schools, he said, would contribute to the country’s quest for quality, equitable and inclusive education.

“Additionally, support under the facility will include the provision of teaching and learning materials, as well as equipment among other resources,” President Mnangagwa said.

The loan facility targeted schools in the rural provinces, excluding Harare and Bulawayo.

Each of the primary schools would have a capacity of 600 students, computer laboratories, nutrition gardens, administration blocks, among other facilities.

The secondary schools will have eight classroom blocks, state of the art administration blocks, teachers’ accommodation, science and computer laboratories and nutrition gardens.

President Mnangagwa said education remained a central pillar in Government’s endeavours to improve the citizens’ quality of life and socio-economic transformation of the country.

“We are therefore, scaling up investment in the education sector to ensure the country’s education product is competitive and relevant to the needs of our country and global realities,” he said.

Projects like those commissioned yesterday complemented the Government’s efforts to increase access to education for all children.

“As a result of these and other ongoing projects, the proportion of out of school children must be zero. The Zanu-PF Government is committed to putting in place mechanisms to ensure that children do not walk long distances to school as well as the reduction in school dropouts,” the President said.

He said the Government had adopted the Heritage-based Curriculum to promote production and entrepreneurship.

“In this regard, the Heritage-based Curriculum now promotes the teaching of science and technology, engineering, arts and mathematics disciplines. 

“This has shifted the paradigm in the education sector by nurturing entrepreneurship, innovators and inventors who must produce goods and services.

“We must nurture education systems, which empower our young people with requisite knowledge and skills so that they are able to feed the nation, modernise and industrialise our countries to propel the development of the continent as a whole. 

“In this light, yesterday (Wednesday), I attended the meetings of the African Development Bank, where issues of human capital development were raised, as critical enablers of the development of our countries and development as a whole,” President Mnangagwa said.

The event was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Torerai Moyo, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Tatenda Mavetera, among others.

The President also donated 100 computers to 20 schools in Chikomba West and Chikomba East constituencies.

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