By LOYD MATARE in Harare

GLOBAL liberal politics organisation, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF),º says the Covid-19 pandemic has brought an unprecedented number of school dropouts, mainly in Matabeleland province.

Speaking during a meeting with the parliamentary portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education yesterday in Harare, (FNF) representative Rudo Mudzingwa said the Covid-19 pandemic had drastically affected the education sector.

“According to the ministry of Education the average enrolment rate of students in Zimbabwe is 5-6 million in a year and from the onset of Covid-19 a total of about 840 000 students are dropping out of school.

“On average the nation is losing almost a million of potential leaders if the government does not intervene,” Mudzingwa said, adding that in Matabeleland North alone, at least 30 percent of the children had dropped out of school, as most institutions turned to digital platforms to offer lessons.

“Such a transformation has disadvantaged learners because not all of them have access to the Internet,” she said.

She also blamed authorities for taking the pandemic issue lightly, saying it was the reason some were ignoring the vaccination programme.

 “We feel like there has not been enough vaccination awareness in education institutions to expedite the rate of vaccination to the younger generation.

“… the authorities are a bit skeptical about the vaccination of all learners because teachers and lecturers are not taking part in spreading Covid-19 awareness like they used to do during cholera and some other disease outbreaks,” she said.

Responding to the presentation by FNF, the committee’s chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they will meet with the permanent secretary in the ministry to discuss the issues that were raised. – The Daily News