Mixed turnout as schools open in Zimbabwe




Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana

HARARE – Schools opened yesterday for all classes except Form One and Lower Six, after a four week delay needed to see the fourth wave of Covid-19 ebb to much safer levels,.

Some schools, especially in urban areas, had fewer than expected teachers with some teachers reporting in, but not teaching. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Mr Taungana Ndoro confirmed that attendance had varied. 

“The first day was generally okay although some teachers and pupils did not turn up especially in urban areas due to various reasons, but we expect the situation to be clearer by the end of the week.” 

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana also acknowledged the contrasting turnout in some schools.

 Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana

“Nationally some schools have 100 percent teacher and student attendance, while others have poor teacher attendance on the first day of opening,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.

He added that schools had also opened normally in Buhera district.

In Harare some pupils were sent home due to the unavailability of teachers, although others carried out their activities normally.

At Glen View 8 Primary School a security guard was doing temperature checks and sanitising all learners before they entered the school gate, in line with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures. 

At Glen View 3 Secondary School there was a high turnout of pupils and teachers who were carrying out their usual duties.

In Mashonaland West there was huge turnout of learners at schools in Chinhoyi town and the rest of the province yesterday as schools commenced 2022 first term, but there was a low turnout among teachers in some schools. 

Many teachers did not report for duty despite the Government having met its end of the deal as far as remuneration was concerned including receiving an additional US$75 of Covid-19 allowance in hard currency. 

A visit by The Herald at Lomagundi and Sinoia Primary and Chinhoyi High Schools in the provincial capital showed that few staff members reported for duty with learners not being attended to.

“I’m completely hurt by the teachers’ behaviour. While they spent nearly two years receiving salaries, but not working due to Covid-19, they have chosen not to report for duty citing several challenges,” said a concerned parent, Mr Rigby Tamirirwa.

Meanwhile, some parents who failed to meet the opening deadline to prepare for their children going back to school, were yesterday making last minute purchases of stationery and uniforms. 

In Kariba, some learners were turned away for not paying school fees while some parents were making last minute arrangements to pay fees.

Although some teachers did not turn for lessons on the first day of school, the schools managed to open.

Acting provincial education director Mr Jason Dzveta said all schools in the province managed to open with selection of Form Ones students now underway. 

He said efforts were being made to gather enough information on why some teachers snubbed lessons although he confirmed that there was relatively fair turnout of teachers in the rural areas. 

In Masvingo schools reopened for the first term with teachers reporting for duty, but most of them not conducting any lessons.

A visit by The Herald at schools such as Victoria Junior and High School, Shakashe Primary showed that teachers who reported for duty did not conduct lessons while a few others did not turn up.

Provincial education authorities said conservative estimates showed that 84 percent of teachers had reported for duty across the province.

However, they did not conduct any lessons with learners at schools such as Victoria High spending the first day in the school hall.

In Marondera, schools opened on high note with most pupils turning up and ready to learn. 

At Cherutombo High School, Nyameni Secondary and Primary Schoos and Marondera High School the number of pupils who attended classes was satisfactory although some teachers did not turn up.

UMAA Institute founder Dr Cleopas Kundiona said there were prepared for the opening of schools and the commenced smoothly. 

“We were prepared for this date considering that Government give us enough time to prepare and even parents were as evidenced high turn up of pupils,” said Dr Kundiona. – Herald