By Ronald Murevererwi – Zimbabwe joins the rest of the African continent in commemorating the day of the African in light of the innocent children who were brutally killed in Soweto during the apartheid in defence of their right to education through protest. This year’s commemorations come at a time when Africa stands as the continent with the highest number of children who are out of school at the backdrop of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aiming to achieve free education for all children in Africa by 2015.
As the continent is taking the centre stage culminated with the hosting of the FIFA world cup it is incumbent upon the African leaders at large to ensure that the blood of the innocent children lost in the historic protest for the right of education is not spilt in vain by taking purposeful steps towards transforming the continent into a power house for educational empowerment in the world. As enshrined in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) education is a legitimate universal right for all regardless of economic or social status in society.
The prevailing conditions in the education environment in Zimbabwe currently leave a lot to be desired as far as the intended target of achieving free education as a basic fundamental right for all children is concerned. It is regrettable that the students’ right to protest against oppression and redress of the challenges besieging them is still contestable under severe persecution from the state and government through repressive legislation like POSA, AIPPA and excessive use of force from law enforcement agents.
A lot needs to be done to regulate the exorbitant fees structures in the education system to ensure that the children from the majority of low earning parents of Zimbabwe are not discriminated against economical background. It is also critical for the government to be watchful on controlling the quality of education offered by the system by making sure that the workers in the system are well remunerated in line with the regional trends.
Deliberate bold efforts should be escalated in amplifying the equality of all human beings in light of the plight of the girl child in Africa. The old generation myth which placed boys as favourites to getting educational opportunities over girls has no place in today’s democratic society and it should be condemned with the uttermost contempt that it deserves. More attention should be put in developing the educational infrastructure in marginalized communities to levels matching the facilities in most towns of the country. It is appalling that there are communities in which children are learning under repellent conditions like squatting under trees with no decent shelter, furniture or stationery.
If the country is going to make strides towards attaining quality free education for all, there is need of coming up with a deliberate uniform course of action with clear measurable national indicators to measure progress towards the desired set targets and desist from leaving on the past adage that country once had the best education in the continent . In line with this year’s theme “Planning and budgeting for children: our collective responsibility” a national monitoring and evaluation strategy should be put in place to govern the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the chosen initiatives.
Education is one of the armouries that will deliver Africa from the bondage of poverty and impoverishment.
At ROHR Zimbabwe we note with growing concern that the young generation has been neglected and relegated to insignificant roles equating to instruments central to the culture of violence instead of being a pillar of the foundation of the next order. Deliberate attempts by selfish politicians of turning the youths into mercenaries is a criminal offense with far reaching effects on the future of the next generation for political expediency.
Lack of knowledge and vital information continues to be Achilles hill for the young generation presenting opportunities for greedy green eyed monsters to take advantage and exploit them into dirty political games for quick gifts like drugs, marijuana and beer. It is regrettable that a substantial amount of crimes committed against humanity in the 2008 elections were carried out by youth militia under organized sponsored violence.
It is our humble submission that all these ill activities will not help the African continent achieve education for all as faster as desired but will only continue to ensure that those who are out of school are engaged into unproductive activities harmful to the human race.
We therefore challenge the entire global community to make frantic efforts to help make free education for all a reality. Africa needs the shifting of a mindset to a new crop of God fearing leaders with an inherent culture of respecting fundamental human rights, education being one of them, to defeat and deny the over shadowing painful era of a generation shrouded in armed conflict, rampant crimes against humanity, culture of violence, corruption, dictatorship and suppression of people’s freedoms.