Pentecostal churches were recently challenged to support Zimbabwe’s ailing education system in the same manner the traditional missionary churches have all along been doing.

The call was made end of April by stakeholders attending a conference at the Large City Hall in Bulawayo with the aim of reviewing the state of education in Matabeleland.

The conference, first of its kind targeting the Matabeleland region, was organized by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association following concerns by parents over dismal performance of Matabeleland pupils in last year’s public examinations.

None of the schools from the three Matabeleland provinces – Bulawayo Metropolitan, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South – made it to the top ten in the country, much to the embarrassment and disappointment of the region.

Speaking during the well-attended conference, Dr Cornelias Ncube of Capernaum Trust, said it was high time Pentecostal churches ploughed back to the education sector. “There are now new churches all over the city but what are they doing to support the education sector?” asked Dr Ncube. “Where is the money from tithes and offerings going? I went to Thekwane High School, a missionary school run by a [Methodist] church. It is high time these new churches support this country’s education sector,” he added.