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Pupils affected by HIV and AIDS
July 15th, 2013
15 July 2013
Education minister David Coltart says the country’s high HIV and AIDS prevalence has taken its toll on the education sector with several schoolchildren either failing to attend classes as they have to look after sick family members or were themselves infected with the disease. Addressing a Third Ministers’ Youth World Forum at Busan in Korea last week, Coltart said: “There are serious deficiencies in our education system and Zimbabwe, along with many African countries, has an unacceptably high prevalence of HIV and AIDS and many youths either have the disease themselves or have to look after family members who do have the disease. “Youths are often provided with very poor examples of sexual morality by their elders which compounds the problem because in Zimbabwe, many men have what are called euphemistically ‘small houses’, namely mistresses, and many young women fall prey to so-called ‘sugar daddies’ who are older men who use their money and status in society to subvert these young women,” he said.
Coltart cited pornography watching by youths through the Internet as compounding problems of promiscuity. The minister also expressed concern over the country’s high unemployment rate, saying over 200 000 students graduated from tertiary institutions annually, but a few were absorbed into the formal employment sector.
“Despite Zimbabwe’s massive economic potential, our unemployment rate in the formal sector is very high and most children who graduate from school cannot hope to go into tertiary education or obtain employment in the formal sector,” he said.Zimbabwe’s unemployment is estimated at over 80%. “Even the word ‘youth’ in Zimbabwe is controversial in some quarters.
It is sometimes used as a pejorative term because in the past, so-called youth brigades had been associated with political violence. The youth of Zimbabwe for several decades have had to overcome a variety of obstacles,” Coltart added.