Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has released $30 million for the drilling and installation of 90 boreholes in selected schools across the country.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s partners have also pledged US$3 million for the rehabilitation of 1 000 boreholes in schools.
Public schools opened on Monday for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six exam classes.
The schools opened under the Covid-19 environment where constant washing of hands is expected in line with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) and World Health Organisation guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela recently said provision of running water in schools was one of the challenges that could affect learning institutions as they reopen.
Responding to Chronicle’s questions, Primary and Secondary Education communication and advocacy director Mr Taungana Ndoro said Government has engaged the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to drill and install boreholes in schools while development partners will rehabilitate others.
“We are awaiting the commencement of rehabilitation of 1 000 boreholes funded by our development partners and drilling and installation of 90 boreholes funded by fiscus after Treasury availed $30 million. We have already engaged Zinwa to drill 20 boreholes and they should be in the field as per contract timelines,” said Mr Ndoro.
He said each school is set to get US$3 000 from the funds availed by development partners.
He said areas including Bulawayo that are hard-hit by water crisis will be prioritised in the drilling of boreholes in schools.
Mr Ndoro did not state the total number of schools that require boreholes to address the water challenges at their premises.
Bulawayo is experiencing an acute water crisis that has seen some suburbs going for months without running water while the local authority struggles to provide water to most residential areas.
Mr Ndoro said most pupils returned to school on the first day of schools reopening.
He said the Ministry continues to equip schools with personal protective equipment for the safe reopening of learning institutions.
Recently, Government released $600 million to prepare schools for a safe reopening in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. – @nqotshili