Parents, Students Question Indefinite Schools Hiatus

Parents and students are concerned by the massive amount of learning time lost due to Covid-19 induced disruption. Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa yet again indefinitely postponed schools’ opening citing a proliferation of Covid-19 cases.

The emergence of Covid 19 has certainly thrown a spanner the works of Zimbabwe’s education system which has resulted in an erratic and unsustainable school calender for over two years. Education is a fundamental right to every child but the pandemic seems to have suspended that right.

A parent only identified as MaGumede bemoaned the frequent and protracted moratoriums on learning, stating that they have a long term damaging effect on children.

“What is happening is really painful. The lockdown is killing our education system and ultimately destroying children’s futures. Our country has for long been touted as an educated country with a high literacy rate but this Covid 19 scourge is undoing and reversing all the gains. Unfortunately the lives of our children are doomed.

Even when schools are open these students hardly learn. Firstly, it was a case of them going to school on selected days, say monday and wednesday. When that phase passed, some teachers were apprehensive at the possibility of contracting the virus and absented themselves from the crowded classrooms. This meant that there was no meaningful learning.

So basically, for the past two years, our children did not learn much yet they sit for their final examinations. I wonder what ZIMSEC is examining them on. If we keep on killing our children’s future by hiding behind Covid 19, we risk raising a generation of ignoramuses incapable of questioning, challenging nor analyzing life situations,” she said.

Another parent who preferred anonymity shared the same sentiments with MaGumede while adding that preventing children from going to school due to Covid 19 is off beam since the pandemic is not ending any time soon.

“I am really wondering why our government chooses to close schools due to Covid 19 when we do not have as many cases as South Africa which is operating normally despite having a far higher number of Covid 19 cases.

Life does not have to stop because of the pandemic and our children’s future should not be sacrificed due to Covid 19 which is here to stay. What we can only do now as a nation is to find ways of living with the pandemic,” he said.

A Form 4 student sitting for his exams this week said he does not see himself getting good grades because he did not learn much since form 3.

“Unfortunately for some of us who did not constantly attend extra lessons due to limited funds, an A or B is almost impossible. I just wish I was born earlier. Covid 19 has made life difficult for my generation. I did not get enough learning time. If it wasnt teachers’ it was lockdown that stood in the way of learning. absence either teachers not coming for classes or schools lockdown,” Hope said.

On New Year’s Eve, the President announced that schools were to remain closed until further notice except for examination classes that are opened on Tuesday as planned.

Source: Community Podium

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