By Janet Munyaka
The government has put in place all the necessary measures and modalities to ensure learners return to school starting this Monday.
This was revealed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he addressed the junior cabinet meeting held virtually this Friday.
The empowerment and protection of children remain paramount, with the junior parliament becoming one of ideal platforms for children to articulate issues affecting them.
This Friday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed the junior cabinet meeting which was held at two separate venues in order to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
His message shone a light of hope to learners who have been home for almost six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The government has put in place concrete interventions through the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Higher and Tertiary Education Innovation Science and Technology Development to ensure that learners return to safe and hygienic schools or college environments.
“I call upon all learners and teachers who are back at school to be careful and abide by the stipulated requirements which help prevent COVID-19. The new normal requires us to correctly wear masks, practice social distancing and constantly sanitise or wash our hands. Protect yourselves, your friends and families,” President Mnangagwa said.
The president also addressed challenges being faced by learners.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is availing resources for school fees and exam fees for those children from vulnerable households. No children will be disadvantaged.
“My government’s focus on developing social services such as education and health care facilities will see the young people of our country having access to schools and clinics as close to where they live as possible. It is pleasing that through the devolution policy, some local authorities have begun to finance projects which will see children having equal opportunities as well as quality and affordable education undertaken in modern school buildings.
“This situation where children walk for over five kilometres to school is not desirable. As more ZUPCO buses are availed, the transport plight of learners in urban areas who commute to school is also expected to improve.”
The President also condemned brutal actions on children for ritual purposes in the wake of the death of a seven-year-old Murehwa boy, whose mutilated body was found being eaten by dogs recently.
“My government is gravely concerned with the threats to the well-being of children and youths emanating from various forms of abuse. We continue to take several measures to give effect to commitments to end violence against children. I am disturbed by the loss of life by young children as a result of heinous and evil actions for rituals and witchcraft purposes.
“These cold-hearted acts of murderers have no place in our country. The stakeholders in our criminal justice system must speedily and strongly deal with perpetrators so that this evil trend is expunged from our society.”
Cde Mnangagwa touched on several issues including the creativity and determination to respond to the problems that affect communities and the nation through, science, innovation, and technology.