BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
GOVERNMENT’S recent directive ordering boarding schools to cut down on their enrolment to reduce congestion in light of the COVID-19 outbreak has backfired, with Form 1 pupils now struggling to secure places.
The directive was issued two weeks ago when government ordered boarding schools across the country to cut down on their enrolment figures in order to allow for social distancing among learners as the country grapples with the highly infectious disease.
In various communiqués sent from provincial headquarters, headmasters were advised to comply with the directive or face severe penalties.
Most parents interviewed by NewsDay yesterday said they had used the online application facilities, with the majority turned down despite possession of good points as school authorities heeded the government directive.
“It is disheartening. My child got eight units, but we have failed to secure a boarding place for him,” one parent said.
It also emerged that some schools had already done their enrolment earlier, especially private schools.
“Most of these upper schools used previous school reports and are already holding lessons online,” said another parent.
Securing Form 1 places has usually been marred by chaos in Zimbabwe, giving rise to corrupt practices by school authorities.
Another parent, Mavis Mankokwe from Chegutu, said if the current intercity travel had been lifted, parents would have visited some of the schools to try and secure the places.
She said parents were also compelled to purchase uniforms from schools.
Contacted for comment, Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said: “Not all schools are compelling parents to buy uniforms from them, and so it becomes a matter of choice. As to the other issues raised, of Form 1 places, we will look into them.”
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