Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mad Bob's bitter troops close private schools

Pupils as young as five years old were being turned away from school gates by President Robert Mugabe’s army last week as Zimbabwe’s education system, once one of the finest in Africa, became the latest victim of his ruinous corruption and economic mismanagement.

A week after the scheduled beginning of the academic year, all state schools remain closed. They are not expected to reopen until at least the end of February.

As far as the state is concerned, if its own schools are shut, then the private ones have no right to be open.

Jocelyn, whose 10-year-old son Tafadzwa attends the private St George’s primary school in Harare, described what happened when she arrived for the start of term last Monday.

“Soldiers were at the gates telling the pupils to go away. They said that other children couldn’t go to school, so St George’s children should stay away until the government decided when term should begin.”

Jocelyn works for an international agency and is paid in American dollars. By making substantial sacrifices, she can afford to educate her children privately at schools offering a sound education and a stable teaching staff: because they charge fees in US dollars, they can pay their teachers in hard currency.

But the fees at St George’s are US$600 (£440) a term, far beyond the means of soldiers earning less than $10 (£7.35) a month and indeed of the large majority of Zimbabweans.

Army units have grown increasingly mutinous in recent weeks, infuriated by low wages and prone to run wild in Harare, stealing from street vendors and money changers. Their harassment of private pupils appeared to reflect their anger that their own children are being denied education.

Zimbabwe’s state education system, in which all schools charge small fees, is collapsing as many of the country’s 100,000 teachers move abroad. South African schools offering salaries in rand routinely recruit Zimbabwean state teachers earning worthless local currency. The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe estimates that more than half its members have fled.

The tragedy for ordinary Zimbabweans is that the collapse of education is ending their proud tradition of being the best-educated people in Africa.

Loveness is a domestic worker who commutes every week to Harare. She can read and write in English as well as Shona and has O-levels in maths, English and history. But she is concerned that her children will not be allowed to match her achievements at a state school. “There have been so many school closures and lack of teachers. And the fees keep going up. Now they want US$20 per term. If I can’t pay, they send my children home. If my son doesn’t read and write, what will he do?”

4 Opinion(s):

Joe King said...


HONG KONG (AFP) — The daughter of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is studying at a university in Hong Kong under an assumed name, a newspaper said Sunday.
Bona Mugabe, whose father and fellow leaders are banned from visiting the United States, the European Union and Australia, began studying at the University of Hong Kong last year, a senior university source told the Sunday Morning Post.
Her presence in the southern Chinese city was revealed after her 43-year-old mother, Grace Mugabe, allegedly assaulted a British photographer who tried to take photos of her outside a five-star Hong Kong hotel earlier this month.

Vince R said...

Mugarbage is also 100% immune to prosecution. No matter what he does, he has two invincible cards 1) The race card (used to play against the West) and
2) The Automatic respect card (used against fellow Africans)

FishEagle said...

I hope liberal white baboons, that have tolerated all the garbage in Africa, realize their children and grand children are going to look back in 50 years time and see the them for what they are – a bunch of spineless losers. I hope you are proud of yourselves. Well fucking done!

Anonymous said...

Viva Ian Smith, viva! A luta continua!