Vincent Gono and Nozibelo Maphosa, Sunday News Reporters
THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is seeking more than $8 million to repair classroom blocks and other related infrastructure that was damaged across the country by the rains received from last year until early this month.
This comes amid revelations that at least 170 day pupils at Ekusileni Mission, a Catholic boarding school in Insiza District have been forced to transfer to other schools after a boat they were using to cross the dam that demarcates the school and the community was swept away.
The boat together with Silalatshani Dam were swept away by the rains recently while pupils at JZ High School in the same district were until recently forced to bath at a river after the school pump was swept away too.
Speaking to the Sunday News in an interview, National Assembly Member for Insiza South constituency Cde Malachi Nkomo said the rains brought with them untold suffering to the communities and school children at large in the district.
He said the district lost quite a number of infrastructure to the rains such as dams, bridges while schools and clinics were also affected in a big way.
He estimated the cost of the infrastructural damage to run into millions of dollars saying they were not yet finished with the process of evaluating the amount of damage as they were still to complete a tour of the damaged infrastructure.
“The number of pupils affected by the swept boat at Ekusileni is 170. The education authorities are now trying to enroll them in other schools.
“At JZ High School pupils were bathing at the river after the school pump was swept away but the finally drilled three boreholes at the school which are now used by the pupils. They are no longer going to the river,” said Cde Nkomo.
A lot of schools in the country had their classroom and stationery destroyed in different provinces because of either floods or violent storms that characterised the rains. At Matopo High School the rain storm hit electricity pylons, plunging the school into darkness. The development has seen pupils having fewer hours of study as the school is now relying on a generator which is expensive to run and cannot be used for long hours because it consumes a lot of fuel.
In an interview, the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavhima said although reports are still coming in, so far assessment has shown that the Ministry will need $8,5 million to repair the infrastructure.
“We are still trying to compile full reports from other areas, but so far the damages we are aware of need $8, 5 million and that is the money we are trying to raise. Once the damage has been compiled, we might be expected to mobilise close to $20 million. This money is being raised towards the reconstruction of classroom blocks that were destroyed by the floods and to buy learning material which was destroyed as well,” said Prof Mavhima.
He said although the damage was across the whole country, some provinces were hit more than others.
“All provinces were affected, however, there are some provinces which were grossly affected, for instance Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland South and North and Midlands among the others. Even schools from the Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan provinces were also affected although it wasn’t as bad as the other provinces,” he said.
Prof Mavhima said the Government was working tirelessly to raise the needed funds.
“We are expecting to get the money from Treasury. We are also trying other ways possible to raise the money without necessarily getting it from the Government because there are other needs as well that were brought about by the rains.
“We hope our development partners come through, and hopefully the Red Cross will chip in, but we need to look at our own resources to fix this disaster,” said Prof Mavhima.
Government Ministries met for the Office of the President Committee (OPC) last week to discuss how individual ministries can raise money to cater for the damaged infrastructure under their control.
The Ministry Transport and Infrastructural Development has so far managed to raise $14 million out of the required $100 million to rehabilitate roads and bridges which were destroyed.