The Sunday News
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
LOCAL authorities have been urged to allocate devolution funds towards upgrading rural secondary schools to improve Science education.
Most rural secondary schools in Matabeleland South do not have laboratories thereby making it difficult for pupils to learn Science subjects. Under the upgraded curriculum the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has encouraged the teaching of Science subjects.
Speaking during a Matabeleland South provincial devolution funds meeting in Gwanda recently, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cde Edgar Moyo said some of the money from the devolution funds had to be directed towards building laboratories and equipment so that learners could make it into tertiary institutions.
“The impact of the devolution funds has been good as we have seen clinics, schools, bridges and roads being constructed using these funds. A bigger impact will come through setting aside some of the funds to upgrade schools to proper Science schools. Local authorities can sit down and identify a particular school or schools which they can upgrade.
“We normally complain that our children are failing to secure places at universities such as Nust but the problem is that we don’t have schools that can churn out students who qualify to enrol at those universities. If we have proper Science schools then those schools can feed to universities. Future jobs are in Sciences and innovation and it’s important to build appropriate infrastructure at grassroot level,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo said there was also a need to establish innovation centres in communities. He said devolution funds were also supposed to be used to support economic activities in communities. He also raised a concern over the delay in regularising operations of provincial councils.
“Operationalisation of the provincial councils is important. For now, we see funds coming and the provincial structure which is supposed to be responsible for the devolution programme hasn’t come into effect. This affects operationalisation and programming. The process of coming up with a bill on the operation of provincial councils has to be quickened,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
Speaking during the meeting Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Cde Abednico Ncube urged local authorities to ensure that devolution funds were properly accounted for and served their purpose of ensuring development in the province. He also urged local authorities to work with MPs and keep them informed on how the devolution funds were being used.
“We called for this meeting so that we find out how devolution funds have been used. We don’t want to hear that these funds have been diverted towards allowances.
“We want to see transparency when it comes to devolution funds and we want to see the money going towards development as is expected,” he said.
Various local authorities gave a breakdown on the funds they had received over the two years under devolution and how they had been used. Matobo RDC received $4 835 000, Umzingwane RDC $3 781 000, Beitbridge RDC $5 369 500, Beitbridge Town $7 670 000, Gwanda RDC $9 790 000, Gwanda Municipality $2 734 000, Mangwe RDC $4 700 000, Plumtree Town Council $3 050 000, Bulilima RDC $5 285 000, Insiza RDC $ 7 050 000.
Local authorities have used the funds to build schools, clinics, rehabilitate roads, drill boreholes among other projects.
The meeting was attended by Senators, MPs, Zanu-PF party leaders, local authorities, councillors, members of the provincial council and Government departments.