The insurance of schools against natural disasters has come under the spotlight, with the government at the forefront of pushing for the system.
This comes at a time when a number of schools in Matabeleland have had their roofs blown off by storms, leaving authorities appealing for donations to rehabilitate them.
Some of the affected schools include Cyrene High School, Lubhangwe High School and Senondo Primary School in Matabeleland South.
In Matabeleland North, Komba Primary School in Lupane was recently destroyed by a storm which also claimed the life of a seven-year-old-boy.
Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Edgar Moyo, on Wednesday, said those who run schools must take action to mitigate the effects of disasters.
Moyo was addressing stakeholders at a strategic workshop organised by his ministry in Bulawayo.
Schools in Zimbabwe are run by central government, urban and rural district councils, churches and trusts.
“One of the important things that we need to look at and that I have been discussing with our Provincial Education Directors is the issue of insurance for our schools,” said Moyo.
“The concept of insurance for schools is there but I think our schools and SDCs are not taking that very seriously. In view of what is happening you need to change your mind-set and take seriously the issue of insuring buildings so that in the event of a disaster you are able to rebuild the school.”
He said in future the issue of insuring schools should be made compulsory so that pupils and teachers are not disadvantaged in the event of a disaster.
Sithembile Moyo of Mangwe, whose grade 7 son’s results were briefly withheld over payment for fixing a classroom bloc blown-off by the wind last year, welcomed the government’s proposal.
“I think that would help us as parents because we are not always ready to part-away with money, which we do not have in the event a school is destroyed,” she said.
Chief Nyangazonke of Matobo in Matabeleland South said insurance on its own was not enough to protect schools against natural disasters.
“There is a lot into this issue,” he said.
“We also have to look at the standard of schools, their value and other related factors.”
However, a social commentator, Mbuso Fuzwayo, said it would be difficult to ensure schools considering that most of them are non-profit making.
“The government must be people-centred,” he said.
“Schools are non-profit making, so it is overburdening the suffering parents.”