Mutare has the highest number of unregistered Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, while Bulawayo central has the lowest at 9 centres, it has been established.
According to a recent report by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri, there were delays by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) in processing the applications for registration, re-registration and establishment of schools resulting in the mushrooming of backyard colleges. The report says:
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The timelines for the processing of the applications at Head Office must be three months for the establishment and four months for registration or re-registration.
Processing of applications has been outstanding for as long as twenty-four months.
In addition, from a sample of 97 applications reviewed, 69 were still pending at the time of audit.
The reasons for the delays could not be clearly established as the Provincial Directors interviewed were of the view that the process was bureaucratic as the applications were done from the District Office to Provincial Office, then Head Office yet some time ago approvals were done at the provincial level.
The delays in the registration of ECD centres by the responsible ministry has resulted in the sprouting of unregistered schools and colleges operating from unsuitable premises such as backyards and garages.
The backyard schools rudimentary, as they have unsuitable, inadequate furniture and classrooms. Chiri added:
The MoPSE may not be aware of the existence of such schools and colleges if they do not monitor and supervise them.
This created an opportunity for these schools to employ unqualified teachers, thereby negatively affecting the quality of education given.
Second on the list of unregistered schools is Gweru with 132, Mzilikazi (39), Makonde (17), Bindura (15), and Mbare-Highfield 14.
Mbare has the highest number of unregistered Independent Colleges at 22, followed by Mzilikazi 13, Makonde (7), Gweru (6), Mutare 3 and Bindura and Masvingo both having 4.