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Education Minister Conceição Sortane said that enrolment at any given education level in Mozambique should in no way be conditional on the unlawful collection of money.
“Illegal collections should be vigorously denounced. We cannot function like this, because (illegal charges) are not a principle of education in Mozambique,” she said.
The minister was reacting yesterday to concerns raised by young deputies of the sixth Children’s Parliament gathered in Maputo for two days.
One of the children said that he had missed an opportunity to join one of the higher education institutions in Mozambique simply because he could not raise the amount required to qualify for the vacancy.
The deputy Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, Joaquim Veríssimo, also urged the denunciation of practitioners of corruption in all spheres of social and economic life, in ways that safeguarded the identity of the whistleblowers.
According to Veríssimo, if a policeman tries to make illegal charges instead of enforcing the law, he or she is not a police officer, but someone corrupt who has infiltrated the police ranks.
He also said that if a teacher, instead of teaching, demands illegal charges, he or she is corrupt in the same way a member of the Children’s Parliament who decided to seize a cell phone from a colleague should be treated as an infiltrator.
In addition to unlawful charges for entry into education institutions, the children complained about the fact that some children’s parks had become “dating sites” for children, serving various purposes including child labour, early marriage, debt repayment and others.
Others complained about children who study sitting on the floor even in places where wood is abundant. Sortane said that some of the wood seized during the ‘Operation Tronco’ would be turned into desks to cover the deficiency recorded in Mozambican provinces.
AIM has learned that the province of Niassa for example lacks more than 112,000 school desks; Zambezia 150,000; and the city of Maputo 7,500. “All provinces will receive a share of the timber seized during the operation. The tenders have already been launched and soon the desks will be produced,” Sortane said.
Regarding the petition of the Child Parliament for severe sentences for adults practising premature marriages, the Deputy Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs said this was an issue that negatively affected the nation’s development.
Veríssimo said that this crime was not foreseen in the legal system because it was a cultural practice that still required an in-depth study to persuade society that the child was not aware of their involvement in marriage.
“Premature marriages violate the child’s right to grow harmoniously,” he said, stressing that measures such as the setting of a minimum age of 16 years were already being applied.
The sixth Children’s Parliament took place under the motto “We Will Only Be Tomorrow’s Future, If They Let Us Dream”.Source: AIM Moçambique / Miramar
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