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Extra, extra: Zimbabwe’s education for sale

By Tinzwei    Every weekend, we observe pupils departing for school. Extra lessons – they call them. Though it remains outlawed in Z...

By Tinzwei 
Every weekend, we observe pupils departing for school. Extra lessons – they call them. Though it remains outlawed in Zimbabwe, some educators override the embargo – illicitly.  

And some enjoy a veto to host them within school precincts. Their validation is partly that incentives were abolished – rendering them lower unskilled staff – money-wise. From a dollar, teachers have enticed parents to pay for added lessons adding to the school fees. The custom gets bloodcurdling in secluded parts as students compensate teachers in kind not limited to firewood, only. Livestock is permissible – I gathered. 

At least they can pay.  What about the rest. Who will educate their children for the future? While the constitution spells that education is a right – some sections have colluded to annihilate upcoming generations. A visit to one school confirmed this summary. A teacher outlined that for $3 – she can teach extra lessons for a week. Adding, “Those attending extra lessons stand a better chance to pass their examinations since they get extra work compared to the rest.”

This is factual – since most students in top ten attend further lessons. It is normal for educators to exert extra effort during extra lessons – while disregarding their foremost function. Though minute – at least they are earning. Contrary, some workplaces employees resort to moonlighting. And one authority observed that: “Learners need a break to renew their zeal and zest for learning. It is instructive to note that extra or holiday lessons were being organised purely for monetary reasons, not for circular considerations”.

Adding that, “an analysis of school performance in public examinations showed that schools that conducted extra lessons did not necessarily perform better than those that did not conduct them. Holiday lessons disadvantaged children that needed a break and parents should appreciate the importance of allowing their children to have a break so that they can go back to school recharged. Parents should use holidays to spend quality time with their children. The ability of parents to pay for the lessons is not the issue. It is a deliberate attempt to deny children a break for monetary reasons that are of concern…”  

This is correctly my disquiet – dear reader. And can anyone explain why a grade one pupil is dragged for extra lessons. To learn patterns, I presume. For I recall one educator, a math teacher who diligently taught us while others were on strike. His ardour was amazing. In his register are doctors, lawyers and mathematicians. His was a calling. If he had asked for extra payment – he could be rich at our expense. By sending children to government institutions, parents have said – they can’t afford exorbitant fees claimed at most colleges. So, after that decision – they have to settle for mediocre practice.

And alas – even grade one pupils are out for further lessons. Holidays are now consumed with more learning and homework. So, when will the pupils find their deservedly rest? In death – I wish not. Who shall care for the lost generation as vultures descend on meagre resources availed to parents? Who shall safeguard our children’s intellect? Surely – teachers will not feed on a calling tag but that should give them solace that they possess the future in their hands – and ought to defend it entirely. Those failing to attract students for additional tutorials are left bitter and will surely regurgitate it onto our children.

Years back, we only the preeminent could shepherd lacking students confined to examination classes. And now, behold – every teacher has become a specialist tutor. And all students are a special case even the most gifted ones – intellectually. Now, is it a question of pure voracity to or a bid to achieve better results? – Tinzwei  

Tinzwei Is A Worth Voyage For Those In Pursuit For Up-To-Date World Events.

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