Monday, June 03, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Education fund abuse claims baseless: Coltart
26/05/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

EDUCATION Minister David Coltart has dismissed as baseless allegations money contributed by donors to the Education Transition Fund (ETF) was being used to fund his MDC party’s projects.

Funded by donors such as the European Union the ETF was aimed aimed at helping revive an education sector once described as the pride of Africa before it was pushed close to collapse by the economic crisis experienced in the last decade.

Coltart said allegations the Fund – designed to mobilise resources for the sector and ensure equitable access to quality education - was being used to support MDC projects in Bulawayo were baseless.

“What those people are saying is false . . . ETF is managed by Unicef in Harare. The ETF implementation committee is chaired by (Ministry of Education official) Constance Chigwamba,” he said.

“ETF is a fund by donors coming from EU countries. I chair the fund but it is managed by Unicef in Harare. Not a single cent comes to Government that I can use personally . . . (Unicef’s) country director can confirm that.”

The Herald newspaper claimed MDC activists Linnet Nyathi and Ellen Shiriyedenga were running an ETF office in Bulawayo which was distributing books to local schools.

But Coltart said there was no ETF office in Bulawayo adding the two officers were, in fact, Education Ministry employees.

“Ellen works in Harare, she has been my personal assistant from day one and her political affiliation cannot be questioned. She is not in the ETF implementation committee. Nyathi was employed to run the Education Advisory Board and is based here in Harare,” he said.

The ETF was established to address the acute shortage of textbooks across the country with most schools operating on a 10:1 pupils-to-textbook ratio as well as provide teaching and learning materials.

The first phase would see some 13 million textbooks distributed to schools around the country while the next phases would focus on expanding support to the secondary schools curriculum revision and supporting implementation of the ministry’s new strategic plan.

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