A severe shortage of schools has been blamed for the low pass rate in the remote Chiredzi district, where some school pupils are reportedly walking distances of up to 30 kilometres daily.
Villagers in Chiredzi South told a Constituency Development Fund stakeholders meeting at Chikombedzi business centre recently that Government should build more schools for the pass rate to improve.
Addressing the villagers during the meeting, Chiredzi South Member of Parliament, Brigadier General Callisto Gwanetsa (Retired) said it was worrying that some pupils were walking close to 30km daily to access the nearest school, 38 years after independence.
He appealed to Government to urgently address the situation to improve the pass rate and stem illegal border crossing into neighbouring South Africa by people of school-going age in Chikombedzi.
“If you look at the distance travelled by pupils around the Gwaseche, Gurungweni, Sengwe, Samu, Chishinya and Old Boli areas you can safely say that the distance they walk daily is taking a toll on them,” he said.
“Teachers in those areas have been complaining about the high school dropout rate because these pupils walk up to 30km daily to and from school. Students in Gwaseche for example walk for 15km to the nearest school and another 15km for the return journey and that is too much,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Gwanetsa.
The Chiredzi South legislator said he was pinning his hopes on the new administration led by President Mnangagwa that wants to engender development in rural areas by building more schools. He praised President Mnangagwa’s administration for re-introducing the Constituency Development Fund.
“We have been given $50 000 for the Constituency Development Fund and we must utilise it towards the development of key infrastructure such as schools, clinics, boreholes among other things,” said Rtd Brig-Gen Gwanetsa.
“This money is for us to develop our area, team work is key towards sustainable growth and we must work hand in glove to economically uplift our area.”
Traditional leaders in the area paid tribute to Government for re-introducing CDF which they said will improve the lives of ordinary villagers in remote parts of the country like Chikombedzi.
They urged villagers to help their National Assembly members identify key projects that would quickly bring positive spin-offs to the larger community.