Civil servants’ poor working conditions are failing to inspire learners in Bulilima and some parts of Matabeleland leading to high rates of school dropouts, a recent study has shown. The Parliamentary report of the joint thematic committee on sustainable development goals on the provision of quality education, sanitisation and hygiene management in schools, which unearthed challenges facing the education sector, was tabled before the Senate two weeks ago.
“On the other hand, at Madlambudzi Secondary School, professionals, especially civil servants, were failing to inspire learners in view of the poor conditions of service,” says the study. Civil servants in Zimbabwe, including teachers, remain poorly paid.
The report says the development has led to learners not to value education as some end up dropping out of school to cross borders into Botswana and South Africa in order to earn a living.
“This problem affected mostly schools that are in gold rich areas and those closer to the borders such as Tsholotsho High School, Maqhekeni Secondary School and Madlambudzi High School,” says the report. “Most people are cross border transporters, are well to do but have no or little educational background. Learners therefore, aspire for such a lifestyle and drop out of school. School authorities indicated that learners drop out of school and cross to South Africa or Botswana and within a year or two come back driving good cars.”
The report adds: “At Madlambudzi High School, they had four confirmed cases including one girl child who dropped from school and skipped the borders. The Botswana border is porous, with many illegal entry points, therefore many learners illegally skipped the border to find piece jobs in neighbouring countries.”
High prevalence of child-headed families in Bulilima, according to the study, also contributes to high school dropouts in the area. “Some pupils lack parental guidance especially those whose parents work in South Africa and who are orphaned while most of them stay alone or with housemaids,” says the report.
“This lack of parental care was cited as a key contributor to high school drop-outs since there would be no parental guidance and monitoring,” says the report.
“This situation has also led to a high rate of teenage pregnancies. At Madlambudzi High School, there were more than 35 known cases of child-headed families. This problem was also echoed at Maqhekeni Secondary School. The school authorities at Madlambudzi High School indicated that most of these children from child headed families usually do not have birth certificates and they cannot register for examinations, hence forcing them to drop out of school.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology