Bruce Ndlovu , Sunday News Reporter
SCHOOLS around the country should cultivate commercial ventures that allow them to remain viable even in tough economic times, as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that they cannot always rely on school feels paid by parents to keep the lights on, a government official has said.
Speaking during a ceremony to award Gloag High School in Matabeleland North with the Secretary’s Bell award for 2018 last Saturday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs Tumisang Thabela said as part of the new learning curriculum, both primary and secondary schools were expected to pursue economic ventures that benefitted both schools and learners.
“In the area of commercial ventures one of the latest policy directives was to make sure that every school is involved in commercial activities. We realised through Covid-19 that we can’t rely on school fees from adults because quite a number of parents lost their jobs and sources of livelihood. Every area of the economy was affected negatively. For those that depend on fees, it was even worse.
The schools that survived were schools like Gloag Ranch who have viable commercial activities. They told us how they sold their cattle, pigs, all of their broilers and all of their layers at once.
You can’t sell that which you don’t have. So, colleagues, National Association of Secondary Heads and National Association of Primary Heads, that’s a directive that we have to look at. We have to build resilience in the education system,” she said.
Mrs Thabela also said the implementation of the Continuous Assessment Learning Activities (CALAs) would continue, as it was a programme that gave a fairer picture of a learner’s performance.
“I am happy that we seem to be talking the same language in the education sector. We want to adopt a fairer way of assessing what a child is capable of doing in addition to what they remember of what they were taught. This model credits learners for the production of goods and services and therefore helps us to begin to forge the process of a skills based human capital development process.
As a Ministry we are supposed to contribute greatly to the pillar on the National Development Strategy 1 on human capital development,” she said.