In a bid to enhance interaction with stakeholders in the wake of an unprecedented surge in misinformation driven by social media platforms, the Ministry has, in conjunction with Higherlife Foundation unveiled a toll free line, 317, that will afford stakeholders access to authentic information.
The 317 toll free line will swiftly connect the public with the Ministry enabling stakeholders to share information on the grievances, challenges and situations they face while also giving the Ministry an opportunity to collate information from various communities to strengthen their engagement with their many stakeholders, the learners, teachers, the parents as they come up with suitable solutions to the issues presented.
According to the terms of reference, Higherlife will fund the running costs of the toll free call centre for a period of 18 months after which the Ministry would assume responsibility.
Since its launch the toll free call centre is already becoming popular with stakeholders as evidenced by the increasing numbers of calls that are being attended to per day. The majority of calls are related to school fees and Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALA).
Speaking during the launch of the call centre, Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Tumisang Thabela, called on the education sector to celebrate the milestone which will bring the Ministry closer to its stakeholders.
“Let us celebrate this milestone as the education sector, all of us together, and say it is one step that will make sure that we continue being relevant as a ministry, as a government to the needs of our learners, to the needs of our children,” she said applauding the role played by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary in ensuring the success of the initiative.
Her sentiments were also echoed by Higherlife Foundation CEO, Dr. Kennedy Mubaiwa, who noted that his organisation was motivated to partner the Ministry in this initiative as they saw it as an investment that will increase access to critical education services for communities around our country.
“This toll free call centre is embraced by all Zimbabweans to revolutionise service delivery in the education sector as more people across Zimbabwe can instantly connect to and interact with the Ministry to share information on the grievances, challenges and situations they face. The call centre also presents Ministry with an opportunity to collate information from various communities to strengthen their engagement with their many stakeholders as they come up with suitable solutions to the issues presented to them,” said Dr. Mubaiwa encouraging teachers and parents to take advantage of the toll free line to engage with the Ministry.
He also called on learners to call in to report issues they face at school or within their communities such as bullying, discrimination and abuse among others in order to access psycho social support.
The launch was attended physically and virtually by representatives of key stakeholders who gave solidarity speeches in support of the initiative.
Representatives from the church, youth, women organisations and learners who were at the launch hailed the Ministry and Higherlife for the toll free centre which they said would help their constituencies to access information from the Ministry.
Currently the toll free call centre is accessible through Econet lines, but measures are being put in place to ensure access is granted through other mobile lines.