Harare (New Ziana) – Government has set in motion plans to construct 3000 new schools across the country by 2025 with a bias towards establishing new boarding schools to cater for rising demand, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said a phenomenal increase in learner enrolment had resulted in the need for more primary and secondary schools.
Currently, she said, there were 9 778 schools, of which 6 798are primary schools while 2 980 are secondary schools.
Both have a total enrolment of 4 659 993.
“Only 1.9 percent of the 6 798 primary schools are boarding schools, with only 35 of these being Government-owned. Of the 2 980 secondary schools, only 10.6 percent are boarding schools and only 60 are owned by Government,” she said.
“The boarding secondary schools can only accommodate 24 000 learners, a mere 0.52 percent of the current enrolment.”
Mutsvangwa said the demand for education continues rising, with 37.3 percent of the country’s estimated total population being of school-going age.
Thus she said more schools were needed to accommodate the projected increase to 5 657 412 for the school-going age group.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the demand for new schools and additional school infrastructure so as to decongest existing boarding schools.
“To cater for the increase in demand for both primary and secondary education and ensure that no child walks more than 5 km to school, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education intends to build 3 000 new schools by 2025. During implementation of the project, more secondary than primary boarding schools will be constructed in an endeavour to satisfy increased demand, ” she said.
“Some existing day schools will be converted into boarding schools, while some low-cost boarding facilities will be constructed at existing schools as the need arises.”
Mutsvangwa said the project would be implemented in phases, starting next year with 144″model 21st Century government primary and secondary boarding schools.”
She said one primary and one secondary boarding school with state of the art facilities will be constructed in each of the 72 districts of the country.
“Adequate furniture and ICT equipment will be procured for each school, while a source of clean potable water will be installed within 500 metres of the school and including a reticulation system and ablution facilities. Each school will be electrified and provided with internet facilities, ” she said.
“Treasury will fund the first one hundred and forty-four schools, while Public- Private or joint venture arrangements will be crafted to assist in the construction of the three thousand new schools required.”