The GOVERNMENT has dispatched officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to schools to prevent teachers and principals from teaching extra lessons during holidays.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, said yesterday NewsDay that the government had banned extra lessons during holidays to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Before the ban, schools held holiday lessons usually for two weeks, allowing slow learners to catch up.
“We cannot allow the holiday lesson where there will not be proper supervision of students at school which could fuel COVID-19 cases,” Ndoro said.
“The government has put in place adequate measures to ensure that pupils who are behind on their curriculum for whatever reason catch up. They’ve been given plenty of homework to work on over the holidays, so when the schools open for the second term, they’ll be good to go.
Zimbabwe National Union of Head Teachers (Zinush) general secretary Munyaradzi Majoni said officials are already carrying out spot checks in schools to ensure they are not running holiday classes .
“We have received information from our members that some officials are already visiting schools to check whether there are plans to run additional lessons during the holidays. However, given the protracted standoff between the government, head teachers and teachers, which has seen students not attend classes for more than two weeks, it was prudent for the government to allow students to take additional vacation courses if they deemed it necessary. Students need a lot of time to catch up after the strike, but unfortunately the government has banned vacation classes, which puts learners at a disadvantage,” Majoni said.
Learning in schools has been halted after teachers and headteachers declared their incapacity demanding better salaries.
Teacher representatives said the ban on extra lessons was not in the best interests of the two learners, but was a decision aimed at the teachers.
President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Takavafira Zhou, said: “Over the years, the students have done very well in their exams thanks to the holiday lessons. The general ban is regrettable because additional lessons are not compulsory. The ban is likely to have negative impacts on the overall pass rate of the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec). Teachers take pride in student achievement and offer free vacation lessons. »
The General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Goodwill Taderera, said: “Parents willingly send their children for extra lessons where they find reputable teachers to help them in their areas of need. Although the government has banned the extra lessons, teachers will continue to provide the extra lessons clandestinely because they are underpaid. The question of extra lessons only reflects the extent to which the teaching profession is underestimated