Freedom Mutanda Post Correspondent
RIMBI High School in Chipinge, received a major boost when a development partner, Plan International, assisted in the construction of a low-cost boarding facility at the school.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango, graced the occasion on Tuesday. The School Development Committee chairperson, Mr Douglas Mlambo, chronicled the partnership between Rimbi High School and Plan International which dates back to 1995.
“Plan International has been an all-weather friend to our institution. Our school was founded in 1981 and it has lagged behind in other spheres. The girl child suffered abuse from predatory men in the ‘bush lodges’ era and there were unwanted pregnancies necessitating an abrupt end to girls’ academic careers,’’ Mr Mlambo said. The school’s head, Mr Phineas Mundeta, thanked Plan International for heeding the call to empower the girl child.
“There used to be a bush boarding here. Girls came from as far afield as Muumbe and Mariya and lodged at the rural service centre, but some of them fell prey to male predators. It came as a pleasant surprise when our development partner came up with the idea of a low cost boarding facility for girls,’’ said Mr Mundeta. The Country Director for Plan International, Mr William Mutero, said current trends revolved around child rights.
He said: “We noted the numerous challenges that the girls who stayed at the township and attended school were facing. We came here with Ms Toni Gun, a German national, who promised to help in building a low-cost boarding facility for girls.
“Thankfully, her hard work paid off. It is our hope that two more secondary schools will benefit from her philanthropy, but we could not have achieved this without the input of our development partner, Government through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.’’
Dr Utete-Masango said: “It is commendable that a private-public-partnership has borne fruit. The head has said there are 1 114 pupils here and the threshold is 1 600, but already one can see that work is in progress. The SDC chair has waxed lyrical about what Plan International did.
“However, I throw the ball into his court now. By this time next year, the school should have constructed a low cost boarding facility for boys as well. Bear in mind that gender sensitivity affects both boys and girls.
“As Government, we have put in $1 million towards buying teaching/learning materials. In your School Development Plans for 2018, factor in the issue of acquiring laptops for both teachers and pupils as we move away from the traditional classroom to the virtual one,’’ she said.
She added: “Zimbabwe needs 2 056 new schools and Government wishes to bridge that gap. To that end, friendly oil- rich countries have pledged $20 million which will be used to build 17 new schools. Manicaland will have two schools and Chipinge will have one school built from the grant.
“You must never ignore teachers’ accommodation in your plans. It is unacceptable for three families to share a kitchen. Consequently, a high teacher turn over will ensue and results will go down,’’ she concluded.
Two teachers at the school, Mrs Flora Mudimba and Mr Obey Mubuso, were tasked with ensuring that the boarding facility becomes a success.
“It is a very good idea and we are happy that the girls have adapted well to boarding life. They have allotted duties to each other as they cook on their own,” Mrs Flora Mudimba said. Alanis Saurombe, one of the girls who use the boarding facility, was elated.
“I come from Matezwa and I am in Form Four. I have ample time to study now,’’ she said.