The government could be able to offer free education for all Zimbabwean children when joint ventures for schools come to fruition.
Cabinet last week approved a new teaching approach aimed not only at academic excellence but also at profit-making in schools through the commercialisation of practical subjects and fostering joint ventures with private investors.
Speaking on Sunday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema said the message was being carried down to school heads to start the model immediately. He said:
Proceeds of these commercial ventures will be used to fund programmes at schools and relieve parents of the burden of paying fees.
School commercial ventures should enable schools to employ full-time appropriate managers and employees paid by proceeds from the ventures. Some schools are already doing this.
Therefore, pupils should not be used as sources of cheap labour, as the Ministry observes the declaration of rights enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, on freedom from slavery.
Pupils will be involved in applied learning as we shift to participatory and learner-centred and interactive methodologies.
It is, therefore, of paramount importance to turn all public schools into economic centres through commercial ventures that use local resources.
Where appropriate each school should enter into joint ventures with private investors.
Such endeavours will lead to free education which the Government is supposed to offer according to chapter 1 part 27 of the Constitution.
Once we offer free education, it means President Mnangagwa would have relieved each family of the burden of paying for schools fees.
The new model was hailed by the National Association of Secondary Heads (NASH) president Arthur Maposa who said schools are willing to adopt it.
National Association of Primary Heads (NAPH) president Cynthia Khumalo said schools can implement the model successfully if it is supported by the government.