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No law criminalises holiday lessons, teachers challenge govt ban

Teacher unions have said no law prohibits their members from conducting holiday lessons. This comes after the Government issued a warning of disciplinary measures for schools who defied the directive to refrain from organizing vacation school during this April holiday, citing the need for learners to rest.

Across the country, several schools, including one administered by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), are reportedly conducting holiday lessons specifically for examination classes.

According to NewsDay, ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga reportedly approved holiday lessons for the Zimbabwe Republic Police High School, which is located in Hatcliffe, Harare.

The school will be conducting holiday lessons starting from April 4 to 15, 2024, and also April 19 to 30, 2024.

The ZRP is charging US$100 for internal learners and US$159 for external learners.

In a circular dated March 25, 2024, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s permanent secretary banned schools from conducting lessons during the holiday because learning during the first term was uninterrupted.

Speaking to NewsDay, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said that extra lessons are good for learners. Said Majongwe:

The most important question we are asking is: Why does the government want to criminalise good effort? No teacher is spending time with learners to dampen their performance. Extra lessons are in good intent. Which law criminalises teaching?

Teachers are professionals and they are practising what they are trained for. Have we seen soldiers and cops being penalised for offering their services privately? Why does the government hate teachers so much?

Government should tell us the law under which it is banning holiday lessons. We are ready to challenge whoever harasses teachers for practising their profession.

Has government been charged for failing to provide basics to schools as enshrined in the Constitution?

Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said the ban has only fuelled the “black market” for extra lessons. Said Majoni:

We know that parents are not comfortable having their children who are candidates this year at home for 39 days and, hence, it is those same parents who choose to send their children to those backyard and unregistered private schools to access the necessary education which was banned on the official market.

As far as we know, no public school is involved in the holiday lessons business and so they will find nothing if they visit these schools.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) secretary-general Goodwill Taderera:

If any schools are conducting holiday lessons, it means they defied the government. But I don’t think there are public schools that defied the order.

Probably it’s the private schools or those unregistered schools that are in defiance. But our position is, if there is a circular from the ministry, then it should be adhered to.

Primary and Secondary Education Ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro was quoted as saying that 0,001% of schools were in defiance of the government’s directive not to conduct holiday lessons.

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