Students meet top official over state of education

school_children4HARARE - About 30 students from the Zimbabwe High Schools Students Union (ZIHISSU) last week marched to the Ministry of Education where they met permanent secretary Stephen Mahere and briefed him about worsening conditions in schools. (Pictured: Children in class - Most pu

The students mainly from Chitungwizas Zengeza 1 High School told Mahere how exorbitant fees had forced many children to drop out of school while frequent industrial action by teachers to press the government for more pay meant even when parents were able to pay schools their children still missed on lessons because teachers are constantly away on strike.

In a statement, the Student Solidarity Trust (SST) said the students told Mahere about the: The closure of schools, relentless industrial actions by teachers, exorbitant tuition and examination fees, shortages of text books (and) shortage of qualified teachers.

Mahere was not reachable for comment on the matter. However, the SST said Mahere was appreciative of the information that he got from the students. Mahere said some of the problems the students are facing can only be addressed through proper government funding of the whole education sector and advised students to also approach Finance Minister Tendai Biti, the SST said. Prosecutor

Zimbabwes public education sector has been in free fall alongside other key social services and infrastructure due to years of under-funding and an exodus of teachers and other skilled professionals leaving the country going abroad where salaries and working conditions are better.

Political violence that has accompanied every major election in the country since 1999 has further disrupted learning particularly in rural areas as teachers fled to the safety of urban areas. The unity government has promised to restore education to its former glory but failure by the administration to attract development support form rich Western nations has hampered its efforts to rebuild schools.

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