FACT commended for assisting with online lessons

Source: FACT commended for assisting with online lessons | The Herald

FACT commended for assisting with online lessons

Victor Maphosa Herald Reporter

The Family Aids Caring Trust Zimbabwe (FACT) has been commended by the Government for the interventions and programmes which assisted vulnerable learners to continue receiving education throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns including buying 11 890 smartphones for these children in Manicaland.

FACT Zimbabwe is a Christian-based organisation set up in 1987 as the country’s first AIDS service organisation pioneering the HIV response.

The organisation has various programmes it started in Zimbabwe aimed at helping vulnerable children especially affected by Aids, such as when parents are ill or die, or infected by HIV. During the lockdowns when schools were closed, FACT Zimbabwe used its experience to enable children to continue receiving education while at home.

Through its education and parenting interventions programme, FACT Zimbabwe supported 11 890 learners with smart phones in Manicaland, bought for US$349 570, to enable them to access virtual learning platforms as well as participate in home work club activities in line with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education blended learning approaches.

Learners will be interacting with their homework facilitators through WhatsApp, SMS and voice calls as they participate in homework club activities. About 13 661 learners and 1 707 homework club facilitators receive airtime and data support from FACT Zimbabwe for the homework club activities.

As an innovation to enable learners to continue learning while at home during the lockdown when schools were closed, the organisation partnered with Government through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to develop and air 150 secondary school radio lessons on Diamond FM and National FM.

It also participated in the development and airing of radio programmes on positive parenting to assist parents with information on how to take care of their children during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The organisation, in 2020 bought text books for 15 002 learners spending US$670 660,58. Speaking during a media tour organised by FACT Zimbabwe in Mutare on Monday, Mutare district schools inspector responsible for urban schools Mr Edson Mapungwana said FACT Zimbabwe’s interventions had gone a long way in complementing Government efforts to give every child basic education.

“FACT assisted our vulnerable learners in both primary and secondary schools in this district. These learners who benefited came out of 164 schools. FACT Zimbabwe pay schools fees, levies, buy them school uniforms and a lot of text books.

“It went on, during this Covid-19 era when our learners could not have adequate time to attend lessons at schools, to give them smart phones and data. Even the teachers received data so that communication between teachers and learners could continue.

“This enabled the lessons to continue during lockdown. Our learners benefited a lot. This helped us a lot. The schools where FACT Zimbabwe made these interventions during the lockdown era kept their pass rate high.”

Mr Mapungwana said the interventions like the homework clubs had a positive impact on children since they had to spend most of their time on school work, a move which blocked them from indulging in unorthodox activities like drug and substance abuse and sexual activities.