Hive of activity at schools Parents and their children wait for school authorities outside a classroom at Mzlikazi Primary school yesterday

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu/Lingani Nyika, Chronicle Reporters
THERE was a hive of activity in schools yesterday as parents accompanied their children to school as non-examination classes opened yesterday.

Some even took to social media platforms to celebrate the reopening of schools following a long break necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic which forced the Government to close schools last year.

Schools were supposed to open on January 4 this year but the Government was forced to defer the opening due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Examination writing classes that consist of Grade 7, Form 4 and 6 pupils began classes last Monday while non-examination writing classes opened yesterday.

According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Term One ends on June 4 with the second term commencing on June 28, ending on September 10.

The third term will start on October 4 and end on December 17.

In an interview, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry director of communications and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro said learners and teachers turned up for school in great numbers in different parts of the country.

“We are confident that the trend of coming to school for both teachers and learners will continue and that adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be intensified. As MoPSE we support the vaccination of teachers and we applaud the Government for prioritising them,” said Mr Ndoro.

“The ministry is pleased that learners and teachers turned up for school on the first day of opening for non-examination classes. It is very clear that parents, teachers and learners want education to continue and learning and teaching to take place. Parents can be seen at schools paying levies and schools are adhering to WHO protocols on the prevention and management of Covid-19 as directed by His Excellency Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa.”

A snap survey around some schools in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls showed that parents were also making last-minute payment of fees while others were trying to secure places for their children.

Ms Lucy Mhlanga said her daughter was doing Grade Two in Jambezi and was trying to secure a place for her for Grade Three at Chamabondo Primary School.

She was one of the many that queued at the school gate waiting to be allowed in to see the school head where there was another queue as well.

The situation was the same at other schools.

In the classrooms, teachers were seen arranging learners to ensure social distancing. Some, especially those whose children are starting Grade One were also present.

There were no incidents of pupils being sent home for non-payment of fees.

Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu said schools opened smoothly.

Some parents were also struggling to have their children start classes due to non-payment of fees, a development against Government policy.

On this, Mr Ndoro said schools are encouraged to establish payment plans rather than chase away learners for non-payment of fees.

“The Honourable Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema has been very clear on this matter that no learners should be disadvantaged because of non-payment of school fees,” he added. — @thamamoe/@NyikaLingani

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