By Farayi Machamire
Scores of schools across the country yesterday prematurely closed before the July 26, date which government had declared for the second term. A survey by the Daily News yesterday revealed that many schools were informing parents not to bring their children to school today.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said the premature closure was necessitated by the need for “teachers to take precautionary measures as this is an election season.”
“It is professionally advisable that parents take care of children. Right now there is a lot of commotion in schools and we are advising parents to take care of children to avert any dangers because this is an election environment. Teachers are taking precautionary measures,” Ndlovu said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou told the Daily News that pressure had increased on schools.
“A number of schools are now occupied by agents and polling officers doing training and there is no where teachers can conduct teaching,” he said.
“The election date could have been set on a day during the school holidays in August but no one took that into consideration and we are now losing time. The second term is the most important term and it’s unfortunate that the political decisions are interfering in the learning of children.”
Permanent Secretary in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry Sylvia Utete-Masango said government does not condone the premature closure of schools.
She, however, could not be drawn to comment on what action government would take.
“There has not been any change in the closing dates issued by the ministry. As far as I know schools close on July 26,” she said.
Government changed the 2018 school calendar following the proclamation of the 2018 Harmonised Elections.
The opening of schools in the Third Term has been brought forward as a measure to compensate for the early closure of Term Two.
In addition, schools had also been urged to put programmes in place in order to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged.
However, that plan has since gone belly up with schools now demanding that pupils stay at home and some boarding schools closing altogether before July 26. DailyNews