Senator Tambudzai Mohadi has called on the government to come up with a budget to alleviate a situation where ECD kids are walking as far as 20 kilometres to school.
Children from rural areas and resettlements are the most affected.
Speaking in the Senate, Mohadi said it becomes difficult for the kids to focus on school because they will be tired and are also vulnerable to abuse on their way to school.
‘’Mr. President Sir, the children who attend ECD are very young. Some of them are as young as 4 years and some are 5 years old. I would like to focus on the resettlement areas. Children have to walk 20km to school and talking of ECD, are we saying these children will be able to get to a school which is 20km away from where they stay.
‘’It is not possible. If they are likely to get to such a distant school, they will not concentrate because they will be tired, Mr. President.
‘’Meanwhile, we are happy that our children will grow up going to school through ECD but in other areas which are disadvantaged, it is not working out. Even if we are to look at rural areas, the current situation is that the classrooms that they are using, especially in resettlement areas are not proper classrooms.
‘’These children will be using mud houses as classrooms which were left by the previous farm owners. In such kind of an environment, what do you expect a kid to do?
Senator Mohadi added that there are areas where there is food shortages and the kids go to school hungry.
She said the feeding programing is not available in every area.
‘’Mr. President, let us also look at these children that are at such schools; if we are to look at those in Regions 4 and 5, even if people plough in their fields, they do not get meaningful harvests.
‘’So these children normally go to school on empty stomachs and the school feeding program is not there in quite a number of schools. If these children are going to school hungry and get back home hungry, it affects their performance.
‘’Mr. President, children walk long distances and there is no transport to ferry these little children to and from school. If you look at these children who are five to six years, nowadays people are cruel, they no longer respect children.
‘’We realised that there are more reports of kids being raped on their way to and from school. We realised that very few of those children are able to reach Grade 7. Most of them do not get to finish their Grade 7 because they would get pregnant and leave school. Our President is always saying we are leaving no one and no place behind. If possible, may the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education set out a small budget that focuses on ECD so that it alleviates such challenges that I am highlighting here.
‘’Without anyone looking at this issue, it means kids will continue to be in trouble. Mr. President, I have said much about these kids, they need our care; they need to get proper education which is similar to that of their counterparts in towns and growth points.
‘’Going to the issue of teachers that are teaching these kids, we do not have enough teachers. Those who are not capable of teaching these classes end up taking those classes without the requisites, just because they want them to be at the same level with those in growth points but the ones on resettlement are kids that have been left behind so much.
‘’These kids in the resettlement areas end up not taking education seriously because they always suffer at that tender age. My plea to our government is to help our kids because it is a fraction of Zimbabwe that needs to be assisted. With these few words, I thank you,’’ she said.