The Sunday News
Melinda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government has started transforming some schools in Bulawayo into commercial ventures for sustainable development that will help in the promotion of sustainable economic development and the betterment of the livelihood of people in Zimbabwe.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cde Cain Mathema revealed this at the launch of the Vision of the Primary and Secondary Education (VOPSE) 2030.
As part of the launch, Minister Mathema and the Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Cde Judith Ncube took a tour of Tennyson Hlabangani High School and Entabeni Primary School where the projects are already in full swing.
He said the projects aim to promote the country’s economic stability drive by 2030.
“The Government’s vision is to have an upper middle-income society by the year 2030. We want to use our leverage of the over 9 600 schools located in every community to come up with competence-based curriculum and assessment, networking with sister ministries and other partners as well as significant skill, competence and space to promote both commercial ventures in schools and skills development.
“I would like to invite private sectors to also engage in the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) ventures with the public schools which will result in the construction of more schools including boarding schools,” said Min Mathema.
The Minister said the competence-based curriculum and VOPSE should lead to productivity and creativity in promoting entrepreneurship and technological advancement while preparing learners for higher and tertiary education and other endeavors.
He said a Business Development Unity has been created at the Ministry’s Head Office to guide, supervise, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the schools commercial venture projects.
Tennyson Hlabangani High School mainly focuses on horticulture, it has cabbages, onions, tomatoes and choumoellier.
The school has managed to realise a profit of $37 000 and currently has 1 000 heads of cabbage with an expected income of US$2 000.
It also has a poultry project that was supported with seed capital from Plan International of US$ 3 000.
The school also begun a cattle rearing project with an initial four heifers.
Entabeni Primary School also focuses on poultry production which was funded by Irvine’s which donated the first batch of 2 500 chicks last year.
They also provided the school with labor and also taught them about poultry production. The school is now on their fourth circle with 2 300 chicks.
From the profit sustained for the project, the school is now paying fees for three vulnerable students.
“In the course of time, we expect that these school business ventures will be able to produce quality goods, making schools cost effective. Indeed, the cost of education at schools successfully undertaking commercial activities should reduce significantly through school feeding, uniform, school furniture and culinary production,” said Minister Mathema.