BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
PARENTS in Bulawayo have blasted government’s rushed decision to commence Form 5 classes without taking into cognisance the short period that students were given to look for places.
Last week, government announced that Lower Sixth students should commence lessons yesterday (Monday 10), barely a week after the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council released the 2020 O-Level results.
“The rush by government to announce that Lower Sixth classes must start learning today (yesterday) is very unfair because as we speak some of us are yet to get places for our children and yet learning has already begun,” said a parent who refused to be named.
A rural parent added: “It is very unfair for students in rural areas who have to travel to look for Lower Sixth places. They need more time to secure places.”
The parents said the government should have given learners at least a month to look for places, and classes commence next term.
But Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro defended the move saying government made the right decision considering that learning time was lost during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
“To claim that the government rushed to commence Lower Sixth classes is unfortunate considering the COVID-19-induced lockdowns had forced schools to close and hence a lot of teaching and learning time was lost,” Ndoro said.
He said people needed to adapt to the new timetables crafted by government as they were meant to ensure that the learning time lost during the COVID-19 lockdown period was recovered.
“We are in a new reality where urgency in the education sector is of paramount importance so that we cover lost ground. Therefore, anyone who may not have collected their results by now needs to be encouraged to adjust to the new reality.”
Ndoro also said government crafted a formula for charging fees for Lower Sixth students.
“The fees formula will be the number of days remaining in term one, times the approved school fees divided by the number of days in the term. Financial problems have always been there, besides, there was a lot of time for parents to prepare learners for Lower Sixth and so people should adjust to the new situation,” Ndoro said.
Before COVID-19, Lower Sixth students were given at least three weeks after the release of O-Level results to secure places before commencement of classes.