August, 18 2018

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Boarding Schools in Zimbabwe Out of Food

Boarding schools in Mashonaland East Province, which are facing an acute shortage of food, have responded positively to the Government's call for them to take advantage of the land reform programme.

A substantial number of them have applied for farms and are on the waiting list, while those with farms are reportedly doing well. Mandedza School in Seke was recently allocated a farm while Murehwa Mission is set to benefit soon.

Monte Casino and Nhowe Mission in Macheke as well as Bernard Mizeki College in Marondera already have farms and are producing enough food to beat the prevailing high cost of feeding pupils.

Mashonaland East education director Mr Sylvester Matshaka said yesterday it had been shocking that boarding schools had been reluctant to take advantage of the land reform programme yet other institutions like the Zimbabwe Prison Services had benefitted.

A Solution to Help the Schools

"The land reform is one of the most innovative ways of raising income and providing food for boarders with the assurance of Government support", said Mr Matshaka.

He cited schools like Bernard Mizeki that reared beef cattle, piggery and chicken with a potential of selling them to outside markets and boosting the school coffers while simultaneously reducing the extent and frequency of boarding and tuition fee increases.

Mr Matshaka said children whose parents could not afford paying fees could work at the school farms during the holidays as used to happen at mission schools decades ago.

Other Needs

"There is also need to identify other income generating projects to complement school financial resources in a bid to avoid burdening parents as today's economic challenges require devising strategic ways to improve quality of life," said Mr Matshaka.

Concern has been raised over the exorbitant fees being charged by some boarding schools as many of the institutions fought the rising cost of food.

Analysts have called for school development associations to come up with meaningful fundraising strategies instead of entertaining the perceived notion that parents have to meet all the expenses incurred by schools.

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