by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – MORE than 1,2 million Zimbabwean children are out of school as education centres defy a requirement by the constitution
requires for government to promote free and compulsory basic education for minors.
Rights groups revealed primary school costs US$10 (R130) to $15 per term, and secondary school sometimes costs close to $150 for the first term, and $35 to $50 for subsequent terms.
Books and uniforms are an additional expense.
School administrators have sent children home, or refused to provide end-of-year exam results, if school fees were not paid.
In defiance of a High Court order prohibiting corporal punishment earlier this year, many schools use such penalties, which is humiliating, especially for adolescent girls.
Children described being beaten by teachers for arriving late, missing class or underperforming.
These are among findings of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has appealed to the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to address the barriers to education.
“The new government should abolish school fees, enforce the prohibition on corporal punishment and increase access to quality education for
Zimbabwe’s children,” Dewa Mavhinga, HRW Southern Africa Director.
Mnangagwa has pledged to rebuild Zimbabwe despite the country’s continuing economic problems.
These problems are attributed to the near collapse of Zimbabwe’s education system, which was hailed as among the best in the world at independence in 1980.
Qualified teachers have fled the crisis and mostly employed in menial jobs n neighbouring countries such as South Africa. Youths of school going age have also fled.
– CAJ News