Back to school for Form Ones

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, ChronicleReporter
THE opening of schools comes into full swing today when Form One classes join the rest of the learners, with teachers also expected to resume their normal duties.

Schools opened for the First Term of the year last Monday, but Form One classes had not opened as the learners were still securing secondary school places.

The separate opening day for Form One classes was caused by the delay in writing the 2021 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Grade 7 exams due to Covid-19.

Grade 7 results only came out on February 4 and learners used them to secure Form One places.

Following the release of Grade 7 results, the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry gave parents and guardians a week to prepare for today’s opening day.

The transition of the Form One classes is expected to coincide with normalcy returning to the education sector after teachers’ unions directed their members to return to work and give negotiations a chance.

Teachers had declared incapacitation, resulting in some not reporting for duty last week.

Yesterday, Form One pupils that secured places at boarding schools started going to their new schools, while some are expected to leave today.

A Chronicle news crew observed some schools demanding that the learners bring their own mattresses, something that never happened in the past.

A parent with a child at George Silundika High School Mr Nkululeko Moyo said it had been a hectic week for them, as they prepared for their children’s return to school.

He said the school demanded that all learners bring new mattresses as part of the Covid-19 mitigation measures.

“Our budgets were really affected. We were hoping to spend at least US$700, but the list kept on growing and we ended up spending almost US$1 000. We had to buy mattresses, something that we had not budgeted for. The school said because of Covid-19, the learners cannot use old mattresses,” said Mr Moyo.

“We are confident that the children will learn unlike what was happening last week. Even officials at George Silundika High School assured us that teachers are there and everything is in order. Hopefully, there won’t be any hurdles. In two weeks, we will be going for orientation at the school and that’s when we will see for ourselves the state of affairs.”

Another parent with a child at Solusi Adventist High School Mr Makhosi Ngwenya said the delay in reopening schools gave him enough room to prepare for his child’s transition to secondary level.

“It was difficult, but we managed to be ready mainly because the holiday was long and we managed to work on our budget. We are happy that there is normal learning at Solusi High School. We expect that our children will learn because a lot of time has already been lost,” said Mr Ngwenya.

Mrs Phumulo Ngwenya, who has a child at Empandeni High School, said she secured a Form One place for her daughter last Monday.

She said she had been gradually preparing for schools’ opening.

“We used the online application system and the responses were delayed as we were still waiting for results. So, when the Grade 7 results were released, we secured a place for her. And being a parent knowing that you are preparing for your child to go to school, you would have done one or two things,” she said.

“But the good thing is that the school included uniforms in its list so we didn’t have to run around when schools opened. It wasn’t that difficult, but, of course, we faced some challenges as there is nothing easy at the moment.”

Mrs Ngwenya said parents made a lot of sacrifices and they hope their children will not encounter any setbacks.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) last Friday said it was in talks with Government so that suspended teachers are not subjected to disciplinary measures.

The hugely followed teachers’ union urged members to return to work.

“Thus, we plead with members, in particular those within school environs or are within reach, to give our learners a chance to go back to school and commence lessons as soon as practically possible,” read the Zimta statement.

On Tuesday last week, Government announced a 20 percent review of civil servants’ salaries and starting next month the workers will each get US$100 converted from their Zimbabwe dollar pay.

Government has also resolved to pay school fees for up to three teachers’ children to the maximum of 20 000 per child.

In making the salary adjustments, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Government remains committed to improving civil servants’ salaries as the economy improves. – @nqotshili

Article Source: The Chronicle

Enjoyed this post? Share it!