CLAIM: At least 1 194 primary and secondary schools were built in the country in the last four years.
SOURCE: The Herald Newspaper
In an article dated July 20, 2022, with the headline “1 200 primary and secondary schools built in last 4 years” The Herald quoted a Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Statistics Report 2021 reported that at least 1 194 schools (958 primary schools and 236 secondary schools) were built in the country between 2017 and 2021 taking the total number of schools to 10 147.
The article did not provide a breakdown of the schools built per province and clarity on whether the figures include private institutions.
Mathematically, this means that 300 schools were built a year, about 25 a month, six schools were built per week and one school was built a day.
Four months earlier, the same publication published an article headlined “Deal to build 2000 schools sealed”.
The article quotes Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu briefing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education that the government has struck a deal with a private company, Tech Brands, to build 2 060 schools nationwide to reach the government’s target of 3 000 new schools by the year 2025.
According to the MOPSE 2020 report, there were 9 778 public schools, 6 798 primary schools and 2 980 secondary schools nationwide, catering for over 4,9 million pupils.
This means that 369 were built in one year as the 2021 report states that the country has 10 147 schools of which 7 081 are primary schools, while 3 066 are secondary schools.
The figure might be exaggerated as the country was in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a lot of infrastructure projects stalling.
In the article, the Education Minister states that the government will build 35 schools in 2022, a reduction from the targeted 50 due to resource constraints.
While some schools have been built by private players and the government through the use of devolution funds, the report that about 1 200 schools in the country in the last four years may be misleading.