Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cain Mathema has urged schools to utilise large pieces of land within their premises to venture into income-generating projects.
Schools have also been given a green light to engage companies for commercial activities on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
Responding to a question posed by Member of Parliament (MP) for Lobengula Constituency Gift Banda, Wednesday, during Parliament on Government’s policy in regards to the supply of running water in all government schools in urban and rural schools, Minister Mathema said: “Many times, it depends on the shortage of funds but what the Government has also done, if the Honourable Member listened or saw on the news media about what transpired last week, every school is now empowered or is allowed to engage in business. We have many schools that have large pieces of land and almost all our schools have a lot of lands.”
Mathema added that he is currently assisting Mpopoma High School in Bulawayo to secure land to set up a factory.
“Mpopoma High has 2500 learners and all those learners still buy their school uniforms from other manufacturers yet at the same time we are teaching Fashion and Fabrics or Textile Technology,” said Minister Mathema.
“I am in the middle of assisting that school to have a stand in Bulawayo opposite the teachers’ college near Mpilo so that they are given a stand to start their factory for our learners to learn in the classroom and see what their school is doing in terms of producing school uniforms.”
Minister Mathema said it was government policy that schools can engage the private sector in income-generating projects.
“We have schools like Chipindura in Bindura that are into dairy production. Every day they produce milk which they sell and they have used the money to build classroom blocks and the administration block. Every school, in addition to the assistance each school gets from the Ministry of Finance, every school is now allowed to engage with the private sector so that they have their projects,” he said.
“We have for instance Fatima in Lupane which has over 400ha of the land but that piece of land is not being used commercially. Even this august House, the building itself is a farm to me. You can imagine how much money you can make out of mushrooms that would be grown in this room – we will have many trays of mushroom,” he said.