100 new schools to be con­structed coun­try­wide

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

THE Govern­ment has em­barked on a project to con­struct 100 new schools in the coun­try, with topo­graph­i­cal sur­veys al­ready un­der­way at dif­fer­ent sites.

The Min­is­ter of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Lazarus Dokora told The Chron­i­cle that cat­e­gories for the schools are: small schools with an ex­pected en­rol­ment of up to 500 pupils; medium schools with an en­rol­ment of up to 1 000 pupils as well as large schools with a ca­pac­ity of 1 600 pupils. The con­struc­tion project would be based on mod­els that have been de­vel­oped by the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry as well as the Min­istry of Lo­cal Govern­ment, Public Works and Na­tional Hous­ing.

Dr Dokora said the build­ing of the schools would start soon af­ter the com­ple­tion of the topo­graph­i­cal sur­veys and the process of short­list­ing pri­vate part­ners.

“Topo­graph­i­cal sur­veys are un­der­way for the first 100 school sites dot­ted around the coun­try. Th­ese are key en­ablers for con­struc­tion work. Once com­plete, with pri­vate com­pa­nies signed on, the con­struc­tion project will be­gin, “he said.

“Ad­verts were done and we’re in the pro­cesses of ap­point­ing con­sul­tants and short­list­ing pri­vate part­ners. Pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures of ten­der­ing must be ful­filled and there should be no short­cuts. The pri­vate part­ners will fund the con­struc­tion of schools and hand them over to the Min­istry upon com­ple­tion un­der a Build and Trans­fer ar­range­ment.”

The Min­is­ter said while com­mend­able ef­forts have been made by Govern­ment to pro­vide school in­fra­struc­ture to cater for the un­prece­dented in­crease in en­rol­ment, the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture re­mains in­ad­e­quate and for some pupils, it is un­safe and not con­ducive to qual­ity learn­ing.

Dr Dokora said Govern­ment would pay metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to the type and qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als to be used dur­ing con­struc­tion.

“De­sign spec­i­fi­ca­tions will be ac­ces­si­ble to all part­ners in or­der to en­sure that all struc­tures are durable, se­cure and fit for pur­pose,” he said.

The Min­is­ter said 17 satel­lite schools would be built un­der the $20 mil­lion grant from the OPEC Fund for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (OFID).

He said a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor to the Min­istry has been ap­pointed to as­sist in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Funds from the OPEC Fund.

The loan fa­cil­ity, the Min­is­ter added, would be re­paid over 15 years with a five-year grace pe­riod.

The Min­is­ter said the grant trig­gered great sup­port as many for­eign and lo­cal com­pa­nies had ex­pressed in­ter­est in part­ner­ing with the Govern­ment.

The govern­ment has em­barked on the project at a time when the coun­try is faced with a deficit of 2 056 schools.

Dr Lazarus Dokora

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