WITH 24 000 secondary school boarding places against a demand of over 300 000 pupils as stated by Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora recently, the country is – without doubt – in need of more boarding facilities and new school infrastructure.
BY TAPIWA ZIVIRA
For a country that is going through tumultuous economic difficulties, which is now over two decades old, education infrastructure has not been spared.
With most of the budget funds being swallowed by the civil service wage bill, meagre resources have – for years – been allocated to critical sectors like education, and are not enough for maintenance of the current education infrastructure, let alone the building of new schools.
This trend has left the country with a huge deficit of schools, and Dokora last year revealed that findings of a 2013 education infrastructure audit exercise showed that 2 056 schools were required to meet the expected education standards in the country.
In response to the findings, Dokora, who admitted that as a result of the economic malaise and poor government funding towards the education sector, his ministry was reaching out to private individuals, companies and churches to intervene.
It is such interventions that one ambitious man, Leroy Murape, a telecommunications expert, is responding to by building an upmarket school in Domboshava, his home area.
A quiet and serene environment that is a mixture of urban and rural, and perched 17km from the affluent Borrowdale suburb of Harare, Domboshava, will, in January 2018, have a new private secondary school in its neighbourhood, courtesy of Murape.
Although construction is still in its early stages, Murape said all the materials are already in place that by the end of next year, the school will be ready to operate.
Named Hillview Christian College, as it stands within the precincts of the Domboshava Hills, the school is set to accommodate 600 pupils, with most of them being housed in the state of art boarding facilities currently under construction.
According to the plans and artists’ impressions, the school will have top notch infrastructure that includes a three storey classroom block and separate hostels for boys and girls.
“Pupils will be able to make use of high-speed internet for their studies, as it is clear that in the world of fast-moving technology that we are in, it is imperative that children utilise technology for their studies,” Murape said.
As a policy, he said the school will make use of qualified personnel drawn from the local community where possible.
“We will employ available locally based and suitably qualified people from this community and we will also source our requirements, like vegetables, from the locals,” Murape said.
Meanwhile, Murape, in partnership with some Zimbabweans in Australia, is facilitating the donation of over 40 000 books to be distributed in libraries across the country.
Through the initiative, Aussie Books for Zimbabwe, the books are being donated by Australians.
“As of last week, we had 25 000 books out of the 40 000 that we need, and the container is ready and paid for and can be transported to Zimbabwe as soon as we have the required amount of books. We are also currently negotiating with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority over duty issues,” he said. – NewsDay