BY BRENNA MATENDERE
GOVERNMENT has rescinded its order for mandatory vacation lessons during the April and August holidays for schools in Matabeleland North province.
The order had been made by acting provincial education director Jabulani Mpofu to enable the schools to improve their Grade Seven pass rates and make up for time lost during teachers’ protests at the beginning of this term.
The move was, however, fiercely resisted by rural teachers, who argued that the directive was made without their consent. The teachers also argued that the low pass rates recorded at rural schools were as a result of lack of teaching resources as well as poor working conditions.
Mpofu later wrote to district schools’ inspectors on April 8, saying it was now up to individual schools to decide whether or not to conduct the vacation lessons during the holidays.
“This serves to correct the previous communication on the 2019 April and August vacation schools during holiday,” the letter read.
“… only Grade 7, Form 4s, U6ths can attend the vacation school if the school can afford to hold it and for the number of days which the school has planned for, not necessarily the 10 days. No school is forced to hold the vacation school.”
He also urged school authorities to consult key stakeholders such as parents over vacation lessons.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said his union had written to Mpofu, expressing displeasure over his earlier order.
“Teachers in remote areas, deep down in the rural parts of Matabeleland North, like in Binga and Bubi, will now enjoy their holidays and have time to go back to their homes to bond with their families. Teachers will also have time to engage in means of getting extra income to augment their poor salaries. We formally wrote the provincial education director a letter, protesting his earlier order on April 3 and we are happy that he has reversed the unpopular decision,” he said.