The textbooks were channeled through the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) while cash strapped Zimbabwe government added $1 million in the fund to buy secondary school textbooks.
The Education Transition Fund (ETF) was launched Thursday.
The ETF which is co-ordinated by Unicef saw donor nations such as the Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, the European Union and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa contributing to the bulk of the ETF to buy 7 million secondary schools textbooks to be distributed to over 2000 schools across Zimbabwe.
Vice President John Nkomo who officially launched the ETF at Bak storage in Harare thanked the donor community for pulling together resources in order to help the ‘Zimbabwean child.’
“Since independence, the government of Zimbabwe has prioritised education as an indispensable obligation to be fulfilled for all Zimbabweans,” Nkomo said.
“Through the Education Transition Fund we will continue to uphold this principle for the benefit of our future generations.”
Unicef country representative, Peter Salama said this is the second phase of the ETF after the first launch in 2009 in which donor nations bought books worth over $50 million for primary schools.
“The second phase will focus on equity and access to quality education for all children, in particular, responding to the gender disparity of students in secondary schools and giving children not in schools and opportunity for a second chance for education,” Salama said.
The ETF will buy books for the following subjects: Mathematics, English, Science, Shona or Ndebele, History and Geography with all secondary students getting a copy of each of the seven subjects.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who attended the launch said “the Education Transition Fund will go a long way in bringing back universal and equitable access to education for all Zimbabwean children. As we work to provide access to quality basic education and social services to all Zimbabweans, the revitalisation of the education sector should remain on top of the development agenda.”
Minister of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture, Senator David Coltart said Zimbabwe education is still under funded urging government to prioritise education after he said the government contributed only $1 million of the total $85 million of the ETF.
He said education, despite having been promised $66 million in the 2011 budget the ministry has received little funds to date.
“There is still a huge drop out (of pupils) rate between the primary school and secondary school,” lamented Coltart.