Zim to host High-Level Dialogue on Education Financing

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Harare (New Ziana)–The Zimbabwe government in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), originally called the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the Economic Society will on Wednesday host a High-Level Dialogue on Education Financing.

UNICEF country representative Dr Tajudeen Oyewale said this as the country joined the rest of the world on Tuesday in celebrating the International Day of Education.

He said the meeting would explore new avenues of public funding for education and to build on the Ministry’s draft Schools Financing Policy.

“Ensuring the needed public funding and transforming education to tap into new opportunities to respond to the needs learners face are key to contributing to universal access to basic education in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Oyewale revealed that UNICEF president, who is also UNICEF Canada chief executive officer David Morley and UNICEF global director for education and adolescent development Robert Jenkins were in the country to attend the meeting.

The two were expected to meet Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials, education partners, donors and learners to better understand the education environment in the country.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has expressed government’s ambition to make access to basic education free for every child in the country starting this year.

Oyewale said for that to happen, more investment was required for basic education as poverty and disabilities were among the main triggers for out-of-school children in primary school.

“Because of poverty, parents and caregivers lack the resources for school fees, leading to absenteeism. This affects progress in ensuring inclusive education, especially for integrating children with disabilities who are often deprived of their right to learning,” he said.

He said as the country celebrated the International Day of Education, it was important to take stock of the status of education and learning, and to reflect on ways forward to ensure access to basic education for all children.

Oyewale applauded the country for having one of the highest enrolment rates in primary school on the African continent.

He said nine out of ten children of primary school age were in school in Zimbabwe, and the figure had remained stable in the last decade.

“This is among the highest enrolment rates in primary school on the African continent. This figure has remained stable in the last decade, which is a remarkable accomplishment. But our shared ambition is to do even more and reach universal enrolment of children in primary school,” he said.

Zimbabwe could further be guided by the Transforming Education Summit held in New York in September last year, Oyewale said.

The Summit called for all nations to support foundational learning as a key element to transform education, promote green education by making climate change an integral part of learning, prioritize digital learning for all children, promote gender equity in education and increase investment in education.

Zimbabwe could also build on the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic from the introduction of digital learning through Learning Passport and the expansion of the digital connection thanks to the Giga partnership, said Oyewale.

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