In the wake of violent protests that broke out on Monday last week, a lot of parents in Bulawayo high-density suburbs are not sending their children to school as they fear for their safety.
On Monday last week Zimbabweans took to the streets to protest against the fuel price hikes announced by government.
Some of the pupils were caught up in the melee, with reports of rioters storming into school premises and physical attacking teachers.
While peace and calm has been restored, there is a general reluctance by most parents to allow their children to return to school.
The situation has been exacerbated by the non-availability of teachers at most schools who are planning to withdraw their services in protest of unfavourable working conditions and meager salaries.
Despite, an appeal from government that parents should allow their children to attend classes, some parents who spoke to CITE said staying home is a safer option for their children at the moment.
“Yesterday (Monday) around 10 pm while I was watching TV with my family we heard the sounds some disturbing sounds that sounded like gunshots. I told my children to sleep with their clothes on in case something happens,” said one parent from Njube.
“In light of this I don’t see how I can let my children go to school when I no longer feel safe in my own house. The way soldiers and the police are roaming around you can’t tell what is going to happen next which makes me feel that the school is not a safe place for my children right now.”
A few children were seen going to school while other schools did not open their gates as teachers are reported to be on strike.
Another parent Njabulo Gumbo said as parents they need government’s assurance that their children will be safe while they are in school.
“The government has an obligation to assure us if there are any security measures put in place to keep school children safe but all I’m seeing around the locations is intimidation and atrocious treatment of people by the police,” said Gumbo.
Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa returned home yesterday from a five nation working visit to attend to the growing crisis in the country.