A NUMBER of Zimbabwean schools have been registering zero percent pass rates, hamstrung by a shortage of teachers and inadequate teaching and learning materials for the competency-based curriculum.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Sport, Arts and Recreation minister Kirsty Coventry said schools were facing an array of challenges.
Coventry was presenting on behalf of Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema.
“There are a number of schools which are registering zero percent pass rates in all provinces. There are many reasons to that and among them is the shortage of teachers. The Ministry has about 15 000 teacher vacancies and we are grateful that Treasury is supporting the Ministry to accrue more teachers to reduce the gaps,” Coventry said.
“In 2020, the Ministry has been authorised to recruit 5000 teachers which is a step in the right direction to reduce the zero percent pass rate registered in some of our schools. The teaching and learning materials for the competency based curriculum are in short supply with books selling at prices like a $1000 each. Our current budget is grossly inadequate to meet the demand for teaching and learning materials for most of our schools especially rural day schools and satellite schools.”
Coventry said teaching and learning space in some schools is still grossly inadequate, for example some schools.
“Teaching and learning space in schools is still grossly inadequate. For example some schools are still using tobacco barns and grass thatched classrooms, animal handling facilities and some schools operating without specialist rooms like design and technology laboratories and workshops. More resources will also be required for the construction of teachers’ accommodation and continuous training of teachers in the competence based curriculum. The Ministry will also increase the targeted supervision of these schools.”
Elsewhere, Coventry said the withholding of public examination results by schools and examination centres is an illegal practice as “the contract is between the candidate and Zimbabwe School Examination Council.”
On school fees, Coventry said fees charged by schools are exorbitant and beyond the reach of most parents.
“As Ministry, we are collecting information on schools and levies being charged by schools. The fees are increased through a decision by parents at properly constituted meetings and schools should adhere to the decisions and recommendations of the School Development Committees. There is need for 20% parents’ consent at those meetings,” she said.
“Our fees currently should comply with Statutory Instrument 121 of 2019 or pricing is done by local currency and this does not give room for rating the approved fees according to the prevailing bank rates since all fees are in local currency.”