In light of the fact that pupils in non-exam classes will only have face-to-face learning for 30 days, the Government has given the greenlight to schools and parents to work out a pro-rata system for the third term’s school fees.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education last month announced a phased approach to schools opening that saw three examination classes — Grade 7, Form 4 and Upper Sixth — opening on 28 September under Phase One.
Next year’s examination classes — Grade 6, Form 3 and Lower Sixth will open under Phase 2 on 26 October while the rest ECD A and B, Grades 1 to 5 and Forms 1 and 2 will open on 9 November.
Under the new directive, Zimsec public examinations will begin on 1 December while other classes will close on 18 December.
Phase 1 pupils will, under these rules, have face-to-face learning at school for an average of 60 days, Phase 2 classes 40 days while Phase 3 pupils will learn for 30 days.
The majority of schools have, however, throughout the lockdown, been offering online classes, which some academics have said are not effective.
The ministry’s director of communications and advocacy Taungana Ndoro (main picture) told the state media that it was procedural that schools management meet parents and agree to come up with a fees pro-rata system for pupils who will attend classes for face-to-face learning for a few days.
“That is the procedure, schools and parents come together and agree the pro-rata system, once they agree on the amount the classes will pay, they then forward to us for approval,” said Ndoro.
Since schools were prematurely closed in March due to the Covid19 pandemic, Ndoro said the Government also scrapped Term Two fees.
School management and parents have been holding meetings to try to ensure that parents also contribute in buying some of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) material although Government has insisted that it has set aside money for to cater for the PPEs.
“The problem is that some schools are now taking advantage to demand too much. We have heard that some schools want to have a thermometer for every class but no pupils must be screened when they are getting into class but at the gate so there is no need to be buying thermometers to cater for every classroom,” Ndoro added.
According to Ndoro, schools have already received some of the PPEs including sanitisers and face masks from Government.
“Still some schools are making their own (PPEs) and as Government we commend that, and we have said we will support them by buying from them.”
A total of 631 000 pupils are this year expected to sit for Grade Seven, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations. Although the Government contends that preparations for the examinations have been going on well, most teachers have been on strike citing incapacitation.
According to education authorities in the country, about 27-30% of the teachers have been reporting for duty since the Third Term began a fortnight ago.
Last week, Mnangagwa warned that the striking teachers risked salary cessation.
“Government will not be taken to ransom by striking teachers. The Second Republic proceeds on principles, not blackmail. Teachers will be paid for working, never for staying at home, away from their work stations,” said Mnangagwa.
additional reporting: Zwnews