Coltart rallies Diaspora

David Coltart, the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, has urged Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to be actively involved in uplifting education.

David Coltart
David Coltart

The sector is still trying to recover from the economic rot that has spanned more than a decade. The resultant brain-drain created teacher shortages, while the under-funded ministry has also failed to adequately resource schools.

“I would have loved to have all of you back home to assist in reviving our education, but since some of you cannot safely return now, I will settle for the second prize of having you source and donate resources that you would send to Zimbabwe,” Coltart told participants at the Zimbabwe Diaspora Education Support Initiative recently.

“Instead of sourcing books that could cost millions to send to Zimbabwe, yet some of them might not even be relevant to our education, I would advise that you send the money home via a trust. We would then negotiate with publishers to purchase millions of books.”

The minister bemoaned the current level of education, adding that in some provinces, like Matabeleland and Manicaland, Grade 7 students were no better than Grade 2s in their level of education. He said that with adequate resources sourced, such disparities could be addressed and education levels brought back to world class levels.

He also highlighted the disparities in pass rates – which he said stood at 30 percent of rural school pupils at primary level compared to the 70 percent of their urban counterparts. The gap is better in secondary schools.

Matabeleland remains a challenge, with education provision still lagging behind, 32 years after independence.

“This is not a political statement, but Matabeleland still suffers the effects of the 1980s, when government did not build schools there, giving the excuse that there were disturbances in the area. What I have seen driving in the region, especially with secondary schools, is worse than in other provinces outside of the region and that needs to be addressed,” added Coltart.

Daniel Molokele, the ZDESI co-coordinator, said he was delighted with the meeting, particularly the high attendance.

ZDESI is a loose network of organisations and individuals based in the Diaspora, fighting to restore the education system to its world class standard.

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