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Extra lessons or extra cash?

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After spending a term at school, children are supposed to go for holiday. However, the majority of students never really rest as they find themselves at school throughout the holidays attending extra lessons.

Report by Winstone Antonio

A survey conducted by NewsDay in the capital has shown that most schoolchildren, despite it being the school holiday period are attending lessons either in school uniforms or in casual wear.

The fact that learning standards in most of the learning institutions, especially in government schools have radically fallen with the 2012 examination results still of great concern among serious thinking parents in the country, holiday lessons have been taken to be the in-thing. These extra lessons have been received with mixed feelings by parents.

The culture of extra lessons has turned out to be the order of the day in Zimbabwe and some parents have labelled them as fundraising projects by teachers to make quick and easy money.

At different occasions, some teachers have come under fire from members of society with reports from children claiming that they do not fully commit themselves during the normal learning hours. Surprisingly the teachers are reported to encourage the children to attend holiday lessons arguing that there would be enough time for them to interact on a one-on-one basis.

Some parents who spoke to NewsDay expressed anger arguing that the way these holiday lessons are being conducted is meant to extort their hard earned funds and are finding it difficult to cope.

“The manner in which holiday lessons are being conducted is just like daylight robbery. How can teachers not commit themselves to their normal duties as we are told by our children so as to call for holiday lessons in order to generate more money than their paltry salaries?” fumed Eunice Dube of Greencroft.

“Not all of us can afford to pay for extra lessons as some of us could have previously struggled to raise the normal school fees,” she added.

Abraham Gotora a father of two from Mabelreign said teachers are human beings who also need to survive just like many who are earning far below the Poverty Datum Line.

“Although this (conducting of holiday lessons) might appear to be unfair, people must understand that teachers are also human beings who need to feed their families at the end of the day and there is no other means they can do it rather than to conduct these holiday lessons and supplement their income,” he said.

“The poor standards in different learning institutions have left us as parents with no option, but to send the children for extra lessons in anticipating of better results as they report that during the holiday lessons the teachers are much committed and thus for the betterment of our children we send them there,” said Bigboy Madzivanzira of Dzivaresekwa.

Marbel Williams has a different hym to sing from Madzivanzira, accusing teachers of fundraising through extra lessons.

“Many teachers have joined the trend of making quick money through extra lessons. “My child last year attended some holiday lessons during the first and third term, but still the results she obtained in her final exam were not pleasing.

“So why would I waste my money paying for extra lessons yet the teachers are finding it as a fund raising process? A serious pupil or student can work extra hard and can pass with flying colours through normal learning and individual study and that is possible,” she said.

While reports have been circulating that some teachers do not fully commit themselves during the normal learning hours so as to make quick money through extra lessons, some teachers who preferred to remain anonymous could neither agree nor deny the assertion.

“I am the one who applied for the job of teaching, so how can I not commit myself yet I know that’s where my bread is buttered? I carry out my duties as usual actually with diligence,” said a teacher at a local school.

The act of conducting holiday lessons has not spared the rural schools, but reports are that rural-based teachers cannot easily mobilise pupils for extra lessons since parents do not have the money to pay for them.

Research has shown that over the holiday teachers are more forthcoming giving parents the value of their extra money paid for holiday lessons. I
n the past, teachers have argued that the massive teacher — student ratio in the classrooms makes it difficult to give personal attention

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