(Zimbabwe Library Association President, Mr. Lantern Rangarirai Fusire, Advocacy Officer Mr. Praymore Tendai, NLDS Acting Director Ms. Tesah Stima and Ms. Tinashe Kuzuwazuwa visited Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanebt Secretary Dr. Sylvia Utete-Masango to discuss various issues surrounding Libraries and the activities of ZimLA.)
By Praymore Tendai,
ZimLA Advocacy Officer
The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) entourage of Ms. Tinashe Kuzuwazuwa, Advocacy Officer, Mr. Praymore Tendai commanded by ZimLA President, Mr. Lantern Fusire and National Library and Documentation Services (NLDS) Acting Director, Mrs. Teash Stima met with Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary, Dr. Sylvia Utete-Masango for a closed door meeting to discuss various issues surrounding Libraries and Librarians in Zimbabwe.
The meeting further intended to shade light to the Ministry on the role Library associations play patnering with government to achieve United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the International Federation for Library Associations (IFLA) International Advocacy Programme (IAP). Ms. Kuzuwazuwa participated in the IFLA sponsored IAP training held in Pretoria, South Africa last year to promote and support the role libraries play in the planning and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
The entourage took the opportunity to extend an invitation to the Perm Sec for the forthcoming ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting to be held from 3 – 7 July in Gweru.
Challenges facing librarians in the country were highlighted to the Perm Sec mentioning the failure by government to facilitate employment of School librarians paid under the Public Service Commission (PSC). It was mentioned that most schools do not have libraries and the few that have libraries; Librarians are paid by the School Development Committee (SDC). The entourage encouraged the Ministry to develop a policy position that support one School, one Library, one Librarian as a tool to support the establishment of a sound School library system in Zimbabwe. In her response, Dr. Utete-Masango indicated that the prevailing situation may deter the implementation of One school one library policy but a possible strategy would be to adopt a one School Library per cluster manned by one librarian.
Dr. Utete-Masango lamented the lack of a reading culture in Zimbabwe and prompted ZimLA to devise strategies to stimulate a reading culture. She called upon the association to come up with solutions based on random surveys in homes to see how many people read for leisure and not for exams.
In the meeting, ZimLA pointed out that a lack of a statutory Instrument that speaks clearly about Libraries and Librarians was affecting the operations of librarians at various levels. Dr. Utete-Masango urged ZimLA to look into the Education Act and look into how libraries can feed into that Act since the Act was being repealed.
She also took the opportunity to ask Librarians to familiarise with the new curriculum so that whatever contributions are made will be in line with the new curriculum. Dr. Utete-Masango encouraged the association to increase the advocacy efforts with the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology as well as attending meetings with Headmasters and Teachers so that they appreciate the role of Libraries in the education sector.