BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GOVERNMENT has refused to bow down to pressure from parents who want children to attend holiday lessons, saying the practice was long outlawed.
Holiday lessons have long been banned because government felt that they had given rise to corrupt activities at schools.
Parents, who spoke to NewsDay, however, maintain that holiday lessons should be allowed after lessons were disrupted in 2020 and 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As parents, we are saying we want our children who are writing examinations to be allowed to pay for extra lessons since their studies were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We just want the ministry to reverse its decision because we fear that our children will fail,” one parent said.
Another parent, Dorothy Masango, said: “Our children’s future will be doomed. We can’t afford paying fees for them to repeat again. Our children’s learning was affected by strikes by teachers and the COVID-19 pandemic. Government should consider that.”
However, Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said extra lessons remained illegal.
“Let’s follow the government’s policy,” Ndoro said.
Recently, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission said it was investigating corruption at schools in connection with the holiday lessons.
Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said teachers could only compensate for the lost time if their employer paid them
“Parents’ concern for their children is justified. They are aware that learning time has been wasted, hence they are trying to compensate for lost time by demanding extra lessons to be brought back. However, extra lessons are still illegal, and teachers doing extra lessons may be reprimanded any time,” Zhou said, further noting that the poorly-remunerated teachers were not motivated to work during school days.
“No amount of extra lessons can compensate for the low salaries.”
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said: “We are against extra lessons. What we can assure parents is that we want money from the government, and once we get it, we will make sure that we teach children well to the maximum.”
Last year, teachers and private tutors were said to be cashing in on extra lessons, especially for secondary examination classes as parents and guardians became desperate to make up for lost time, which was caused by the COVID-19 lockdown period.