Solusi high commissions textile factory Guests tour the Solusi High School textile factory

Laurel Murangaridzirayi, [email protected]

IN a milestone achievement, Seventh Day Adventist-run Solusi High School in Bulilima District, Matabeleland South has commissioned a textile factory that will be used as a hub for manufacturing uniforms and other fabrics.

With 472 learners, most of them boarders, Solusi Adventist High School has proved that it is a results-oriented institution. Its focus on excellence is a testament to its success.

Speaking at the school’s speech and prize giving ceremony held last week, the school’s deputy headmaster Mr Pholani Ndlovu said the school is working to promote industrialisation. 

“We want to change our learner’s mentality regarding employment. We want to push them to be their own bosses through industrialisation. Learners should acquire these skills while they’re still at school,” he said.

The factory has six heavy duty sewing machines donated by Corporate Chaplaincy services, with more machines expected in the future. 

These machines are expected to help pupils gain valuable experience and knowledge in the textile industry.

Mission Director Pastor Njabulo Sibanda said the school wants to empower learners with both academic and practical skills.

“We want to empower our learners so that they can be well educated in hand skills because we are moving away from just concentrating on academics,” he said.

In addition to the textile factory project, the school has various projects that take advantage of the school’s location in a farming area. These projects are designed to provide pupils with real-world experience and knowledge.

“We have horticulture, poultry, dairy, fish farming and cattle fattening projects since we are in a farming community. Agriculture is our pillar hence we are involved in a number of farming activities,” said Pastor Sibanda.

The school’s biogas project which was sponsored by the Government is paying dividends as most meals at the school are now prepared using biogas.

“The biogas has enabled us to drastically cut on the use of firewood thereby conserving our trees,” he said.

The school has managed to maintain a 100 percent pass rate in 14 of the 22 subjects at Advanced Level.

Solusi is an inclusive school which accommodates all learners, including those who are physically challenged. 

Solusi High School headmaster, Mr Bekezela Tshuma

The school does not select pupils based on their performance in the Grade Seven public examinations.

“We’re promoting entrepreneurship among our learners at ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level that’s why at Form 3 they write HEXCO and the textile industry will enable them to produce while they’re still at school. Our uniforms will be made locally, the pupils are the ones who will be producing them.”

The school’s headmaster, Mr Bekezela Tshuma said there was a need to improve the ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ level pass rates as they had dropped in comparison to previous years.

“The Advanced Level pass rate dropped from 92,1 percent in 2021 to 84,6 percent in 2022 while our ‘O’ Level learners did not do well when compared to the past. The pass rate fell from 68 percent in 2021 to 55 percent in 2022. This is a cause for concern,” said Mr Tshuma.

He attributed the recent drop in pass rates to a variety of factors including the disruption of normal learning at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, staff turnover issues, and a lack of holiday schools.

“There are a number of reasons that may be attributed to the performance, which include Covid-19, limited learning time, staff turnover and uncertainty,” he said.

“Furthermore, there were no holiday schools yet learners spent the previous year out of school due to Covid-19 lock downs.”

In bid to restore the schools pass rate, the Seventh-day Adventist Church-run institution has managed to enroll more qualified teachers.

“We have managed to equip the school with more teachers so that will boost the chances of the learners to regain the school’s high position in terms of its pass rate,” said Mr Tshuma.

“The school has a staff complement of 39, there are 18 Government teachers, one lab technician plus 12 SDC teachers and nine church paid teachers.

“Out of this total, there are 24 teachers with degrees and teaching diplomas or certificates. There are 11 teachers with only teaching diplomas or certificates. There are three members who hold degrees but without pedagogy,” he said.

He said the name Solusi is derived from the Mlevu people who owned the farm before it was bought by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

“The name Solusi is from Chief Soluswe of the Mlevu people who occupied the farm before it was handed over to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. As some of you know, we have the descendants of the Mlevu people right here serving within our school,” he said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Solusi University lecturer Dr Ivonne Ndlovu, Corporate Chaplaincy chief executive officer Pastor Brian Moyo urged the school to be a model of excellence. 

“As you aim for higher ground, recognise your ability to influence the world around you. 

“Whether it’s through acts of kindness, advocacy for important causes, or simply being a role model for others, each one of you has the power to make a difference. Class of 2023, the world today is in need of people who are models of excellence,” he said.

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