Schools defy Govt directive on holiday lessons

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Schools defy Govt directive on holiday lessons
Mr Taungana Ndoro

Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter

SOME schools, especially private ones, have defied a Government directive banning holiday lessons and are charging learners for classes they are conducting during the holidays.

A number of boarding schools including primary schools, have taken back learners for holiday lessons, despite a ban by Government which said learners had sufficient time to study during the first term.

Last month, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education received requests from some schools to conduct vacation classes, but after consulting education stakeholders, Government turned down the requests saying pupils needed time to rest.

But some schools have claimed that sporting activities during the first term disrupted in-class learning schedules, hence the need to compensate for lost time through holiday lessons. Some parents have expressed concern over the holiday lessons, and accuse schools of using the holiday lessons to raise funds.

The Government has warned schools against flouting the directive on holiday lessons and warned that schools found on the wrong side of the law would be dealt with.

Some schools started lessons on April 8 and most of these have been conducting full lessons between 8am and 1pm since then. The schools claim that it is learners who requested to meet their teachers.

“Children are going to school and most parents have paid fees after school authorities ordered every pupil to attend holiday lessons.

“Most of them told learners not to wear school uniforms as a way of avoiding detection,” said a parent with a child at a private school.

One Victoria Falls school that has openly defied the Government’s directive is Waterfalls Academy in Aerodrome.

“The school will run an intensive vacation programme from 8 April to 26 April 2024. Lessons will begin at 8am up to 2pm during which learners will only be allowed to put on tracksuits or sports attire,” said Waterfalls Academy administration in a letter to parents. The letter was sent before the Government ban.

After the Government banned holiday lessons, the school did not suspend lessons, but instead ordered parents to pay and pupils not to wear uniforms.

“We encourage learners to attend vacation lessons so that we can catch up on lost time that was taken by the athletics competitions throughout the term. It is important for all candidates to attend without fail,” wrote the school to parents.

Form 1 and 2 pupils paid US$20 for the holiday lessons, Form 3 and 4 pupils each paid US$25 and Forms 5 and 6 paid US$30.

Waterfalls head, Ms Memory Mugadza, claimed they were only helping Form 4 classes to do CALA assignments. “It is true we didn’t seek exemption, but we only had Form 4s that were doing CALA,” she said.

Parents with children at the school have also complained that the school is demanding US$230 per child for a trip to Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo scheduled for August 6-9.

The director of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro, warned schools defying policy, saying the Government had not reversed the holiday lessons ban.

“There was no reversal and the ban stands. Our teams are on the ground ensuring adherence to the directive,” he said.