Schools should not turn away learners: Mathema

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cain Mathema, has warned schools against turning away parents seeking places for their children.

Schools opened for the first term last week, starting with examination classes while the rest of the classes will open next week.

This follows a directive by the government that boarding schools across the country must cut their intake for this year to allow for social distancing among learners.

Speaking in Parliament, Wednesday, Norton legislator Temba Mliswa urged Members of Parliament to engage school authorities in their constituencies to ensure that no learner is turned away.

Mliswa was responding to a concern raised by MP Roselyn Makoni on headmasters who chase parents away claiming that due to Covid-19 regulations schools cannot accommodate their usual number of learners.

“What is Government policy as parents are now facing problems in looking for places for Grade Ones and Form Ones?  When they get to the schools, headmasters tell them that the schools are full because of the COVID regulations.  Parents have no schools to take their children to.  What is going to be done to alleviate this problem?” Makoni queried. 

Mliswa said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has circulated numerous statements and notices to learning institutions urging school authorities to embark on hot-sitting programs in order to decongest their facilities.

“Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education stated that it has written a lot of notices to schools and it is true. Us members of parliament must effectively represent people, which means we must go on the ground to the schools and make sure this happens,” urged Mliswa.

“Even if the ministry writes 100 letters and we are equally not on the ground, it does not help.  It is called an effective representation of our constituents where we go to school by school or we invite the headmasters through the DSI, have a meeting and it happens.”

Minister Mathema, emphasised that every child must go to school and no headmaster has the right to turn away a parent. 

“Every child in Zimbabwe must go to school and each school head – whether these are public or private schools, must make sure that every child goes to school,” he said.

“If there is any situation where children are being turned away for whatever reasons; and we have COVID- 19 protocols, the parents, guardians and everybody else has to be in touch with my officers. We are not allowing that.”

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