31 January 2012
The Minister of Education Sports and Culture, Senator David Coltart on Monday told a European Union delegation touring Matabeleland region that imbalances between Mashonaland and Matabeleland region started during the Gukurahundi atrocities that claimed more than 20 000 lives in Matabeleland and Midlands region.
He said then grants to build schools were only allocated to the Mashonaland region.
He also added that Zimbabwe required billions of dollars in order to solve historical imbalances that exist under education sector between Matabeleland and Mashonaland region. He disclosed that most of the pupils in Matabeleland region walk more than 30km to school on a daily basis. In addition there were few ‘A’ level schools that offer mathematics and science subjects hence it was not worthy for the government to set up science and technology universities in the region.
He added that Zimbabwe must prioritse basic education to all the pupils in the country and make sure that they meet the budget allocation for education sector for it is the backbone of a progressive nation.
“Last year we got a budget allocation of US$14,8 million and this meant that it was equivalent to US$5 per pupil but other ministries like Home Affairs, Justice and defense got more money than education, which is not fair,” said Senator Coltart.
Addressing Journalist at Bulawayo Art Gallery, after touring EU projects the UNICEF Representative, Dr, Peter Salama said that he was very much pleased with the Education Transition Fund programme in Zimbabwe as it had achieved a ratio of one to one textbook per pupil.
He said that they are now working on the second phase of ETF programme that will see the rehabilitation of schools sanitation, training of teachers and buying of school furniture.
“We are grateful about Zimbabwe’s ETF programme. World-wide this country has achieved the one to one ratio of pupil textbook allocation in 18 months and we will continue to fund the education sector in Zimbabwe and the main partners in EU have pledged to support Zimbabwe because they have proved to be a working country,” said Dr Salama.
Zimbabwe is working towards achieving the 2015 millennium development goals of universal access to education to all children.
Meanwhile EU’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia said Monday targeted sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his allies will be removed, if the country holds free and fair elections.
EU, alongside the United States, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his top military, and business associates as punishment for allegedly stealing elections, perpetuating human rights violations and failure to uphold the rule of law.
However addressing a press conference in Bulawayo today (Monday) EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia said that there will be no reasons not to remove targeted sanctions imposed on Zanu (PF) leaders if free and non violent elections are held in the country.
“There will no reasons for European Union not to remove these restrictive measures if free and fair elections without any intimidation are held. Those elections should also follow guidelines set by Africa Union and SADC. Voter education should be conducted before the elections are held, the media should be free and results should be accepted by all elections contenders,” said Dell’Ariccia
Dell’Ariccia said EU will currently continue to support Zimbabwe through Aid and dismissed allegations that targeted sanctions are affecting the Zimbabwe’s economy.
“There is no way travel restrictions imposed on a certain individual not to travel to Europe can affect the country’s economy, that’s not true,” he said
Dell’Ariccia said his delegation is touring Matebeleland region the whole of this week in order to improve its linkages with and its understanding of the specific issues of region.
He said that the delegation is committed to an inclusive approach towards supporting Zimbabwe’s development. The EU envoy added that this has been particularly evident since the inception of the current government, with a clear mandate that the EU Delegation has received to support the implementation of the GPA.