Members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) staged a peaceful demonstration in Bulawayo on Thursday demanding thatgovernment scraps levies in public schools with effect from next term which starts in the first week of next month.
WOZA director Jenni Williams told Studio 7 that her organization has since 2006 been campaigning for free primary education and wants government to scrap levies charged in public schools, removing the burden from hard-pressed Zimbabweans.
Williams castigated government for having misplaced priorities and said the state must ensure that 20 per cent of the national budget goes towards education as outlined in the Dakar Declaration of 2000 to which Zimbabwe has ratified.
The demonstrators sang and marched through the central business district to the Mhlahlandlela government complex where they wanted to deliver a petition to Resident Minister Eunice Sandi Moyo, but were stopped from doing so by police who blocked the entrance to the offices.
Reverend Useni Sibanda of the Zimbabwe Institute for Social Transformation, who also joined the march, said he supports WOZA’s calls and reiterated that it is government’s responsibility to ensure that citizens get quality education by training and paying teachers well.
Zimbabwe’s education system, once the envy of the world, has crumbled amid the ongoing economic crisis compelling parents at one point to fund even the salaries of teachers through levies.
Local education officials declined to comment.