Sunday, 17 December 2017

EXTRA LESSONS NOT BANNED : MINISTER

Government has not banned extra lessons and Scripture Union (SU) and will allow them to continue in schools, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima has said.

Addressing teachers’ representatives in Harare last week, Prof Mavima said extra lessons could go ahead, provided they did not supercede normal classes and become money-spinners. The minister’s remarks follow speculation that authorities had done away with extra lessons and SU.

Prof Mavima said: “We never banned extra lessons in schools. Neither I nor my predecessor (Dr Lazarus Dokora) did. However, we sincerely condemn activities that hinder the smooth flow of main classes. Students should not be disadvantaged because they can only afford main classes and not extra lessons as many parents pay willy-nilly. What we are condemning is a situation where main classes suffer. However, we never banned extra lessons, especially if they are to the benefit of students.”

On SU, Prof Mavima said learners were free to organise themselves into faith-based groups as the Constitution of Zimbabwe promotes religious freedom.
“I want to make it clear that there has never been an effect in the new curriculum on clubs like the Scripture Union.

“There was never any effect and there will never be any effect. There was never any attempt by the ministry to say that we are banning Scripture Union. So, when it is raised in a forum like this, I get really concerned as to where it is really coming from because there was never any directive from my predecessor, myself, the permanent secretary, any of our principal directors or directors to say that there should be restriction in our schools.”

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu told this paper: “There has been a distortion in understanding what extra lessons are.
“The truth is extra lessons are supposed to be applied for in special circumstances. It is the school that applies for extra lessons in the event that they either want to complete the syllabus or for remedial purposes only. After the school is granted permission for such lessons, a certain fee can be charged; a fee channelled towards rates, rents, etcetera. The charge should not be for teaching services; it is not their salary.” Dokora was fighting people who were now commercialising lessons.

“Such activities were amounting to corruption, which was bad for the education system. We do not want people to see teachers as merciless people. We do not want a state of anarchy,” Mr Ndlovu said. Sunday Mail 

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