Tuesday, March 9, 2010

By Khumbulani Maphosa (Media and Publications Officer)

The right to education should be a right for every individual and the government should have an obligation to ensure that it provides quality, affordable and accessible education to all. Participants made this call during the Education Sector Think Tank meeting held at the Habakkuk Trust Boardroom on 23 February 2010.

The meeting was attended by 31 participants who included students, teachers, members of Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), members of various School Development Associations and some civic society members concerned with the education sector.
Anele Dube from Matabeleland Empowerment Campaign stressed the need for tertiary institution in the region to adopt a quota system whereby a ‘large percentage of the students should be people from the region where the university is located’.
Mr Enock Paradzayi from PTUZ also presented some of the key issues they would want to see appearing in the constitution as an organisation. Some of them include: Accessible and affordable higher and tertiary education, fees that are not way above the salaries of government workers, government intervention in the operations of private schools so as to ensure quality and non-discriminatory education, education being done in minority languages, teaching being recognized as a profession, minimum wages above the poverty datum line, the right to participate in collective bargaining, among other issues.
‘What the human mind is to a teacher, is what the body is to a doctor’ explained Mr Paradzayi who was passionate about the issue of temporary teachers and lack of an independent teacher self-regulatory body.

Some participants further called for a constitution that will ensure that the education system of this country produces a wholesome human being and one that is ‘cognizance of the socio-economic needs of the society’. This they claimed can be achieved if the country ‘adopt a two-tier education system, that is, an academic and vocational system’ suggested Mr Printah Nkala a University Lecturer.

Mr Dumisani Ndlovu who represented ZIMTA stressed the need for ‘a law that questions any child of school going age who is seen not going to school’. This will also be complimented by ‘policies that may arrest a parent or guardian or parent who is able but does not take responsibility’ of sending a child to school.

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