By Judith Sibanda
Victoria Falls, May 01, 2016 – GOVERNMENT says the school feeding programme will commence when schools open with priority given to provinces worst hit by drought.
This comes amid revelations that school children were dropping out due to hunger.
This was said by Primary and Secondary Education minister, Lazarus Dokora while addressing delegates at a Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association conference in Victoria Falls.
Dokora was giving a report of learners’ attendance graph since the recent past years.
“We want to able to withhold all school kids in the school system and this is why we proposed to government to introduce school feeding programme and we will phase it in to all children out there.
“Government is raising funds for that to happen but beginning of next week, we will see in those districts that are hard hit by the drought beginning to benefit from the public service allocation of grain, beans and so on going to those schools but you will hear people requiring for even salt on top of that.
“The school feeding will continue beyond the mitigation measure of the country’s current drought and it will become a permanent feature of the school system.” said Dokora.
Matabeleland North is one of the provinces hardest hit by the El Nino induced drought, which the United Nations last month said had resulted in 6 000 children pulling out of school due to hunger while 100 000 were already suffering from malnutrition countrywide.
Meanwhile, Dokora warned schools not to send learners home in order to pressure parents to pay fees adding that they “did not get into any contract to be born”. He urged parents to deal with the parents directly.
“Do not touch children but deal with the parents because those are what you manage. Take them to chiefs’ courts, village heads or the magistrates or do anything to make sure that they pay.
“You yourselves have been talking, saying it’s a human right, quoting a Section of the Constitution in Chapter 4. When I spoke about this there were those that put me in the cartoon area of the newspaper saying this guy is mad but I was mad doing my constitutional duty.
“The kid has not entered into a contract with any adult, it didn’t even ask to be born but it simply found itself on earth so those who brought it to this earth must pay for that and so we must protect children at all time a child mustn’t even know that they owe the school but the parents remind daily,” Dokora said.