THE return of the five-day learning week as schools reopened earlier this week was a development welcomed by both parents and learners and, of course, most teachers.
The COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted the school calendar, forcing the introduction of measures to decongest classrooms.
A three-day learning week had become the order of the day.
While the plague of the COVID-19 virus appears to have been contained, the threat is definitely not yet over.
Hence the need for schools to continue to adhere to WHO-recommended protocols. We once again salute the Government for their recent vaccination blitz which included those aged 12 years and above.
The inclusion of the 12-year-olds and above age group ropes in school-going children both in secondary and primary schools.
This obviously means added protection for learners against a possible COVID-19 outbreak.
Parents are, therefore, expected to give consent for their children to be vaccinated.
The second phase of this vaccination blitz is already in progress up to May 15.
No doubt a five-day learning week will give teachers an opportunity to catch up where they are lagging behind from lost time.
The three-day learning week, caused by lockdowns and the limiting of classroom sizes, had seen teachers falling behind in their syllabuses.
Now we are expecting teachers, for the sake of their children, to put in extra effort. Parents whose children had dropped out of school are also encouraged to re-enroll them.
In an effort to let their children catch up, parents will be eager to let their children have extra lessons outside school time.
But this should be a bilateral mutual agreement between parent and tutor.
Normally there shouldn’t be anything wrong with this.
What we are against is the way some teachers were commercialising this practice by literally forcing pupils to attend their extra lessons.
Some unscrupulous teachers would deliberately do very little in the classroom, forcing learners to attend their ‘extra lessons’ to catch up.
And, of course, this was for a fee.
Thus you would see a whole class attending ‘extra lessons’, with their teacher now delivering what he/she should have done in class.
This is diabolic.
Teachers’ salaries have always been comparatively insufficient since time immemorial. We sympathise with them, but also expect them to stick to formal negotiating channels to have grievances addressed.
But regrettably, there are some who want to politicise their grievances at the expense of innocent schoolchildren.
Any day of job action by teachers sees pupils as the worst losers.
We have an example of Amalgamated Teachers Union (ARTUZ), a keen disciple of the regime change advocates.
Whenever ARTUZ calls for industrial action, something they always do, its aim is less to do with teachers’ remuneration; it’s more to do with being seen to be advancing their colonial masters’ cause.
In November last year, a whole Minister of State, a Lord Ahmad, in the UK House of Lords, confessed that the UK Government was working closely with teacher organisations in Zimbabwe, ARTUZ included, to effect regime change.
Soon after, ARTUZ put their chalks down to invade the streets.
No wonder this Obert Masaraure-led outfit is always clashing with police because of its illegal protests.
Now that school attendance is on even keel, we expect school authorities to be sympathetic with parents. There are challenges being caused by economic saboteurs through an undisciplined parallel market.
True, dues have to be paid to keep schools running, but parents who cannot pay all their tuition fees at once must be allowed to negotiate terms of payment.
On the other hand, parents should make sure that no school increases tuition fees without their approval or the Government. Meanwhile, we wish teachers, learners and parents a smooth running second term.