The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is considering closing about 40 schools in Matabeleland South Province which have recorded low enrolment over the years saying running the learning institutions is not viable.

Due to the sparse populations in Matabeleland South, there are some schools in the province that have a low enrolment of below 120 pupils at primary level and less than 140 scholars at secondary level.

The prevailing situation is making it uneconomic to continue running these learning institutions, notes the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Slyvia Utete-Masango.

She urged the province to come up with solutions to dealing with the problem as some schools are operating with about three teachers.

Mixed reactions have come from the leadership in Insiza district which has the highest number of schools with a low enrolment owing to the settlement patterns.

Insiza south legislator, Cde Malachi Nkomo says operating fewer schools which provide quality education will improve the current poor pass rate while Chief Vezi Maduna said the move to close the schools violates children’s rights to education.

Some of the schools that have recorded low enrolment include Elangeni, Phezulu and Mehlo Primary Schools in Insiza as well as Shape and Sisyevale in Gwanda.

On the other hand, stakeholders have been calling for the establishment of more schools in the province to reduce the distances children have to travel to get to the nearest learning institution.