Parents of learners at Hillside Primary school in Bulawayo have alleged that their children are being bullied by prefects who are taking advantage of the absence of teachers.
Some teachers in the city have not been reporting for duty claiming incapacitation.
Recently, Bulawayo Deputy Education Director Thabani Sibanda revealed that 50 percent of teachers are not attending classes.
Parents who spoke to CITE said that the prefects were left to monitor their fellow learners and allegedly physically and emotionally abused them.
“It seems teachers are on strike but we never received any communication to that effect and we have been sending our children to school as we were not aware of the developments. Our children were also not opening up to us that they are being taken care of by the prefects,” said one parent.
Another parent added that the prefects were using various objects such as brooms and sticks to assault the learners.
“My child also told me that the prefects are the ones who have been attending them, we don’t even know whether teachers are on strike or not. My child said they were hit by one prefect who was carrying a whip, what kind of behaviour is this, children are now bullying each other at school,” she said.
The parents called on authorities to urgently deal with the problem as bullying has long-term effects on children.
Contacted for a comment, Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Olicah Kaira said she is going to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry Director of Communication and Advocacy, Taungana Ndoro said the situation is under control.
“As the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education we are monitoring the situation and the bullying that you are alleging is taking place is also under control with our District and Provincial Office on the matter,” said Ndoro.