Teachers' organisations have expressed concern over the increasing number of school children who are dropping out of school because of hunger. Some pupils are passing out during lessons because of hunger, after going for days without a proper meal.
Tendai Chikowore, president of EI affiliate the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA), said that it was common knowledge that the worsening economic situation was forcing pupils out of school. "Even those who work here in town are facing food problems. What more of people in rural areas? Generally life is tough nowadays. Remember, the cost of commodities is going up daily and this is affecting everyone," said Chikowore. Dropping out of school as a result of hunger and general poverty, is most common in the perennially dry parts of the country. The economic downturn had exacerbated the problem as parents struggled to raise enough money for school fees and levies for their children. Revelations of children dropping out of school because of hunger come at a time when the government has barred NGOs from distributing relief aid to needy people. Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's breadbasket, is facing a serious food crisis and an estimated 5 million people are desperately in need of food aid.