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Zimbabwe, 8 September 2010: Over 5500 primary schools begin receiving vital education support

13,250,000 million textbooks, supplies and stationery kits to be distributed nationwide

HARARE, 8 September 2010 – The Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe, the international donor community and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today launched a massive nationwide distribution exercise that will see all 5575 primary schools receive supplies, stationery and every child in primary school across the country receive a text book in all the four core subjects. The support has been made possible through funding from the Educational Transition Fund (ETF) which aims to improve the quality of education for the country’s children.

The distribution follows the launch of the ETF - a multi donor funding mechanism-a year ago designed to mobilize resources for the education sector. The fund responds to numerous shortages of teaching and learning materials, textbooks and supplies in schools. Currently, across Zimbabwe, around 10 pupils share every text book, while a 20% of primary schools, have no textbooks at all for English, Mathematics or a Local Language.

“This week children went back to school, because of this visionary partnership between the Inclusive Government, international donor community and the UN, children will go back to school with books and learning materials for the first time in years, said Senator David Coltart, Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture. “It is a profound recognition that education is the foundation of Zimbabwe’s recovery.”

Over the past decade and against great odds, Zimbabwean communities managed to keep their children and maintained high national enrolment, despite a declining economy, rising unemployment, an orphan crisis and an under resourced education sector, which was near collapse. The ETF is the first large scale, external support to the education sector in the last decade and will provide needed learning resources to every Primary School.

A massive logistical exercise, the distribution launched today will see a total of 12,000 MT of school supplies (500 trucks load), including stationery, 13 million textbooks distributed across the country to the remotest parts of Zimbabwe in the next three months. 20% of the textbooks are being printed in Zimbabwe and the remaining 80% in the southern African region. A seamless supply chain will ensure that textbooks, stationery and other school supply from the UNICEF distribution centre are distributed to 22 hubs across the country and further transported by local transporters to reach each and every school in the country.

Commenting on the distribution Dr Salama, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, said: “The distribution exercise we launch today is undoubtedly an enormous endeavour. Yet, we relish the challenge as it is a crucial first step to restoring Zimbabwe’s education system to its former glory as well as restoring the pride Zimbabweans have in educating their children.”

The next phase of the ETF will focus on providing teacher’s guides, textbooks for marginalized indigenous languages textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education Sport Art and culture (Venda, Shangani, Tonga and Nambiya), Braille and funds allowing for all secondary schools. ETF resources are also complemented by resources provided to revitalize the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) which are now providing schools fees and levies for more than 500,000 orphans and vulnerable children. The next phase of the ETF will focus on improving learning outcomes.

The ETF was made possible by the generous assistance from the European Commission, the Governments of Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

For information and interviews, please contact:
Micaela de Sousa, Chief of Communications, Tel 263 2124268,



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