Resumption of classes after a long Covid-19-induced hiatus has brought relief to learners and parents.
Schools will be operating full throttle from tomorrow after the rest of the classes begin, a week after exam classes resumed on August 30.
Learners were last in school on June 3 and had to take a long break as the country battled to contain rising coronavirus deaths and infections.
The success that has been registered so far has paved way for schools to reopen.
Below, we share thoughts from some of the key stakeholders in the sector.
Opening schools may have come at a time when it is not as conducive as parents would have wanted in terms of the general notice and the provisions needed for each learner to go back to school. However, we must all agree that it is best for learners to be back in school. They have been on holiday for too long, which has adversely affected them psychologically. We appreciate Government for taking note of the need for an extended learning period. We understand this is costly for parents/guardians, but it is for a better cause in the end. Going forward, there is need for authorities to realign the school calendar in light of Covid-19 trends that seem to heavily spike during the winter season. The issue of school fees top-up should be communicated in advance and be reasonably justified.
Everisto Jongwe (Zimbabwe Schools Development Committees/Associations (ZSDC) secretary-general)
Our priority at the moment is to make sure we recondition all students. It can and will be done though we need to be a bit patient with them.
Richard Mateko (Teacher)
I am happy that my Form Three daughter is finally going back to school (Langham Girls High). Extended holidays may result in some children losing interest in school. I prefer my child to be in school as there is less disturbance. The healthy competition among learners in schools can also not be ignored. Government long warned schools to prepare for reopening and for any serious parents, it meant we also had to prepare fees for our children. Most boarding schools are charging at least $50 000 per term, which I feel is reasonable.
(Ms Shyline Mutepfa)
We are already preparing for our final Ordinary Levels next year and the pandemic is making our lives difficult. We have been studying home, taking online classes but consistency is a challenge because data is expensive. Also, we cannot overlook those who do not have smart phones as well as those with no internet access.
I also think parents and school authorities should reach some mutual understanding on the fees issue so that our studies are not disturbed again after such a long break. Payment plans will be best. (Kudzai Simango – Form Three, Mt Darwin)
There was no better time for schools to reopen than now when we are making progress in containing the third wave. My two children are at a private boarding school and we have just paid US$600 each, which is what we paid last term. It is a relief to finally have them back in school even under the circumstances. Who knows how much longer Covid-19 will be around? Government just needs to find a way for learning institutions to operate yet ensuring safety of learners.
(Mr Reginald Moyo)
I had lost hope for my daughter who will be sitting for her final Ordinary Levels in a few weeks. It is better to hustle for money to pay for fees than to have children at home doing all sorts of misdemeanours. I am, however, not sure if learners are ready for school. There might be need to engage psychologists, especially for examination class students….as a parent, I also hope schools will consider giving us room to make payments for fees. Covid-19 has financially affected many people.
(Mrs Nyadzisai Mutede)
I am now a spare parts dealer and have been taking care of myself and widowed mother since the start of the year. To be honest, I no longer have interest in going back to school. Covid-19 has given me a new perspective to life. However, I might consider night school later.
(Eric Mandeya – Lower Six, Harare)
Covid-19 is not going anywhere any time soon. We need to adjust and learn to live with it. I think Government’s decision to open schools was for the best. However, I believe more learners should be vaccinated so that we are all protected. It is sad that some of our colleagues are not coming back due a number of factors such as pregnancy and lack of fees. (Terrence Dziva – Africa University)