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Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government is targeting to construct 100 schools by 2018 as it moves to cover the deficit of schools in the country, a senior official has said.
An audit conducted by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in 2014 showed that the country has a deficit of 2 056 schools.
Speaking at the Teaching Professions Council (TPC) consultations in Bulawayo on Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Education, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango, said the schools would be built from loans sourced from the International Development Bank and others from a $20 million grant from the Opec Fund for International Development (OFID).
“Arrangements are at an advanced staged, the sites have been identified. We are starting with a tranche of 100 schools and we are hoping by 2018 we would have constructed the 100 schools,” she said.
Dr Utete-Masango said they would soon be inviting players in the private sector to construct the schools on a build transfer arrangement.
“They are going to mortgage the Ministry through the bank. So it means as a Ministry we have to come up with ways of raising funds to service the loan that the bank would have advanced us. The other arrangement that we have with the Arabs through the OPID, this is a loan that we are getting… it is not a grant. This facility is not only extended to Zimbabwe but to other African and Asian countries as well,” she said.
“It’s a loan that they give, there is nothing Moslem about it and there is nothing Islamic. These are OPID funds sourced by Government not by the Ministry. The Ministry of Finance went to sign for the first tranche of $20 million, there are conditions and we have to pay back with interest that was agreed upon”.
Dr Utete-Masango said from the first tranche of $20 million, 17 schools would be built with a bias towards provinces that have the highest number of satellite schools.
Turning to the Teaching Professions Council, Dr Utete said the infrastructural development would complement the council by raising standards of teachers through staff accommodation which is now a priority according to the new curriculum.
She implored teachers to take the consultative meetings seriously and research in order to come up with helpful contributions.
Dr Utete-Masango said the deadline for submissions from consultative meetings was April 10 and the Bill would be taken to Cabinet for approval and later to Parliament to be enacted into law.
The TPC would be a professional standards body for the teaching profession which seeks to set and uphold high professional standards for teaching and teachers.
Its functions would be teacher registration, professional development and research.
Teachers and school heads who attended the consultative meetings said they welcomed the move which would protect their profession and bring dignity to it.
The countrywide consultative meetings will be in Matabeleland South province today before moving to the Midlands tomorrow.