BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
GOVERNMENT has dispatched officials from the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to schools to stop teachers and heads from conducting extra lessons during the holiday.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro yesterday told NewsDay that government had banned holiday extra lessons to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Before the ban, schools would conduct holiday lessons usually for two weeks, allowing slow learners to catch up.
“We can’t allow the holiday lesson where there will be no proper monitoring of pupils in school which could fuel the COVID-19 cases,” Ndoro said.
“Government has put in place adequate measures to ensure that pupils who are behind on their syllabi due to whatever reasons catch up. They have been given lots of homework that they will be working on during the holiday such that when schools open for the second term, they will be ready to go.”
Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads (Zinush) secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said officials were already doing spot checks at schools to ensure that they do not conduct holiday lessons.
“We have received reports from our members that some officials are already visiting schools to check if there were plans to hold extra lessons during the holidays. However, in light of the prolonged impasse between the government, school heads and teachers, which saw pupils failing to attend lessons for over two weeks, it was prudent for government to allow pupils to attend extra holiday lessons if they deem it necessary. Pupils need a lot of time to catch up after they lost it to the strike but unfortunately, government has banned holiday lessons, which disadvantages the learners,” Majoni said.
Learning in schools was disrupted after teachers and school heads declared incapacitation demanding better wages.
Teachers’ representatives said the ban on extra lessons was not in the best interests of both learners but was a move targeting teachers.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said: “Over the years, students have been performing very well in their exams owing to holiday lessons. The blanket ban is unfortunate because extra lessons are not mandatory. The ban is likely to have negative impacts on the overall Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) pass rate. Teachers take pride in students passing and they offer holiday lessons for free.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Goodwill Taderera said: “parents willingly send their children for extra lessons where they find teachers of repute to help them in their areas of need. While government has banned extra lessons, teachers will still clandestinely hold the extra lessons because they are being underpaid. The issue of extra lessons only reflects the extent to which the teaching profession is under