Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) are providing a conducive education atmosphere for teachers and students by building classroom blocks and health facilities throughout the 10 provinces, Matabeleland North provincial education director Mr Jabulani Mpofu has said.
Mr Mpofu said even though forces have a week long community assistance programme in which they hand over various buildings, the education system recognises the work of the army throughout the year.
“As the education sector, we value our defence forces. They are providing us with security throughout the year and the Defence Forces Day is testimony of the nation’s appreciation of them. Our learners and teachers go to school knowing that they are safe as a result of the security provided by our sons and daughters in the force and not only that, the army has gone further by providing infrastructure to our schools as we recently saw at Sipepa and Watershed Primary Schools in Matabeleland North and South respectively,” said Mr Mpofu.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Ambassador Mark Marongwe presided over the handover ceremony of the two classroomed block at Sipepa Primary School on Thursday last week. The Chief of staff Quartermaster Staff Major General Hlanganani Dube presided in Bulilima.
The schools or communities benefiting from the ZDF projects are mostly less privileged or disadvantaged which is in line with the President’s thrust under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Vision 2030 of leaving no one and no place behind.
At its inception the ZDF community assistance programme focused on short term projects such as general cleaning of public places, repairs and refurbishment of public amenities.
However as demand for high impact public facilities surged, the ZDF moved to bigger and more impactful projects. The areas of education and health were targeted owing to the realisation that literacy and good health were key enablers to general community development
The spirit and purpose of the Community Assistance Week is to foster cordial civil-military relations, engender self-reliance and educate members of the society on the role of the ZDF during peacetime.
“Today’s celebrations must therefore be attended by every Zimbabwean as an honour to our armed forces and a thank you to the security and peace that we enjoy as a country, a security which guarantees a safe learning environment,” said Mr Mpofu.