Prince Sunduzani, Chronicle Reporter
INDEED like a green patch in a desert, Tsholotsho High has become the preferred school in Tsholotsho District and a contender that cannot be ignored in Matabeleland North province.
Located at the heart of Tsholotsho, about 117 km west of Bulawayo, one would be pardoned for expecting the school to have a rural look. However, the moment one sets foot about 100m from the school, they are welcomed by modern infrastructure of a well-developed learning institution.
The school’s achievements are second to none in the district; indeed a shining star in the province.
In an interview with The Chronicle ahead of today’s Speech and Prize Giving Day, the school head Mr Sicelo Dube attributed the school’s success to commitment, strategic planning and hard work.
At a time when most schools across Zimbabwe are constrained due to the unfriendly economic environment, Tsholotsho High School is lifting the burden off parents’ shoulders by reducing school fees and embarking on projects without demanding special levies from them.
“All the developments we’re doing here are done without special levies; it is through planning, commitment and hard work that we’re able to develop our school without having to trouble the parents,” said Mr Dube
“We’ve managed to construct a 4,2 km long precast wall and also changed the face of the school. We’ve also bought a 26-seater bus to add on to the 63-seater we already have. A 57kv generator to avert the electricity problems that we face has also been bought. We’ve managed to tar the school roads and are paving all our pathways to make our school look beautiful and easily accessible.
“We also extended the administration block and put up a new office. We’ve also built a clinic at the school which is managed by a nurse.”
He said the developments at the school are as a result of unity of purpose from all stakeholders, that is, administrative staff, teachers and parents.
“We’re working together to improve the learning environment of these pupils. The parents are very supportive and whenever we propose projects, they don’t ask why, but how to do them,” said Mr Dube.
Tsholotsho High School has made significant strides in the implementation of the new curriculum, particularly technical and vocational subjects.
The school is taking things a notch higher as their agriculture practicals resemble that of well-established commercial farms.
Pupils learn practical subjects on the job and at the moment are involved in the paving and walling of the school. This is the kind of education the government of is trying to promote.
“We have a thriving chicken project and are picking over 3 000 eggs per day. Our vegetable garden is also doing well with over 3 000 heads of cabbages, and some butternut which we’ll be harvesting soon,” said Mr Dube.
Tsholotsho High School has done well to promote extra-curricula activities with the school choir having won national choir competitions and produced a CD.
“We’re the giants of choral music. All the activities offered by Nash, we’re there. We’re also into modeling; one of our girls has won pageants in Harare and in the province. One of them won Miss Victoria Falls last year,” he said.
With a committed headmaster and a 57 member team that is goal driven, the school has managed to improve its academic results.
The school has put in place adequate resources for the implementation of the updated education guideline.
“As a school, we’ve embraced the new curriculum and are taking it seriously. We’ve introduced a number of subjects that are in the curriculum and our learners are taking very much interest in these new subjects,” said Mr Dube.
“We’re buying the new textbooks and I’m proud to say that we’re almost done with buying enough. Parents are very supportive and some are buying their children these new materials.”
Tsholotsho High School is a champion of information communication technologies in this rural community. They have a fully equipped computer lab with plans in the pipeline to upgrade it.
The school has been chosen to be the driver of technology in the district, a role it is fully furnished to take up.
“We have an ICT centre at the school and we’ve also allowed the A-Level pupils to bring their own gadgets. We also installed WiFi units at the school and are connected to the internet. I always encourage pupils to utilise these,” said Mr Dube
“We’re sending our teachers to attend ICT workshops so that they can be fully equipped to drive the technological revolution at the school. Recently, we were selected to introduce e-learning in the district,” he added.
“We have a modern library and this is helping pupils in their STEM subjects. Last month, we held a STEM programme for learners across Matabeleland North province. We’re really coming out full force when it comes to STEM subjects as we encourage our pupils to take up the subjects.”
The headmaster, who is also one of the pioneers of Tsholotsho High School which was opened in 1977 said he has a lot of interest in the school and its development.
Despite taking under performers with Grade Seven results as low as 36 units, the school’s overall results have been above average in recent years and the headmaster is confident of improvement in the years to come.
He urged parents to pay their children’s school fees in time to enable the school to plan ahead. – @PrinceNkosy102