Education in Crisis as Mugabe, Tsvangirai Blows Over US $25 million on Globetrotting

Coltart on Monday warned government of an imminent dilapidation of the country’s education sector if it continues to its current spending on foreign travel which costs three times amount as it allocates to the ministry of education.

Last year President Robert Mugabe’s trips alone chewed over $20.6 million, way beyond his $15 million annual presidential travel budget.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputies by mid-2011 had used $4 million, almost three quarters of their annual budget allocation of $5 million.

Education Sport Arts and Culture ministry last wanted $60 million but was given $16 million by government.

“It is shameful that as a government we spend three times more on foreign travel than on education in this country and has to change and stop. We must allocate more resources to this sector for we will be investing in the future,” Coltart told delegates witnessing the signing ceremony of the $6.5 million for the second phase of the Education Transitional Fund (ETF) from the European Union, facilitated by UNICEF.

The  US$6, 5 million availed by  EU to the country’s education sector will be channeled towards the re-introduction of a national school grant initiative, teacher training and second chance programmes for children forced to dropout from school.

Minister Coltart said despite achievements the education sector gained three years after the formation of the inclusive government which has seen development partners extending their hand, the sector is still fragile.

“Education remains in a state of crisis. One has to go to a school and see the infrastructure at the schools. The just ended strike by teachers also revealed that the situation is still fragile,” said Coltart.

Coltart took the opportunity to announce the completion of the 5 year Education Strategic Medium Plan which he has been crafting for the past three years.

“I am glad to inform you that next week I am going to present the 5 year Education Strategic Medium Plan to cabinet. I am not going to divulge what the contents of the document are only to tell you that it has everything which concerns teachers and plight of pupils, “he added.

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia, “despite the restrictive measures which the EU placed on certain individuals we are a very good friend of Zimbabwe and we totally committed to assisting the wellbeing and the development of the Zimbabwean people”.

 Education Transition Fund (ETF) was introduced in 2009 by a 12 donor pooled resource as a joint emergency response to the crisis which is expected to lessen resource constraints being faced by the local education sector.