THE Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) is pushing for government to nullify the 2020 academic year so that pupils have adequate time to cover essential elements of the syllabi, after normal learning was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teachers’ union wants government to declare an order that pupils repeat their classes so that they proceed to the next level after acquiring the requisite knowledge as stipulated in the curricular.
“It is almost a year now without proper learning taking place in schools,” PTUZ spokesperson Peter Machenjera said.
“Considering that a human mind has the propensity to delete automatically any dormant files, it means that when schools reopen, most pupils would have forgotten concepts taught before 2020.”
He added: “Taking for example, Form 5 students who had only three weeks of proper learning during the first term of 2020, they are now expected to proceed to Form 6 when schools reopen.
“Will those students be able to comprehend the components of the syllabi in order to sit for the examinations in November?
“The same applies for those who are in Grade Six and in Form Three, who are supposed to be the candidates next year. There is need for a clear government roadmap for the education sector to address such abnormalities.
He also lamented the increasing digital divide between rural and urban schools.
“The technological gap has relegated these poor communities to the receiving end. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the education system is fast-favouring the elite, while children from the low-class families are being deprived of their right to education.”
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said the 2020 academic year was over and government was planning ahead for the 2021 education calendar.
He said: “Candidates successfully sat for the 2020 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council exams and the Grade Seven results have since been released. We are planning for the 2021 calendar.”
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa last week during a post-Cabinet media briefing said the government was already preparing for the reopening of schools following a drop in COVID-19 infections and deaths.
She said the Primary and Secondary Education ministry was working together with the Health and Child Care ministry to ensure learners and teachers’ safety ahead of the beginning of the 2021 school calendar.