WE, in the village, value games; as much as we demand that our children attend to various chores we also do not mind them having a good time when the work is done.

All work and no play makes Tindo a dull boy.

We are thus delighted by the recent decision by the Government to reject vacation school lessons for both examination and non-examination classes.

It is a commendable move that underscores the importance of providing pupils with much-needed rest and opportunities for independent learning. 

In recent years, we have experienced a new approach of continuous academic pressure throughout the year.

And the reasons for continuous learning have not always been noble as school attendance characterised by pupils paying extra monies beyond the normal school fees has become a money- making scheme for some schools.

Since time immemorial it has been known that school holidays are a time for students to recharge, explore other facets of life and foster holistic development.

Firstly, the acknowledgment that pupils require rest is crucial in promoting their physical and mental well-being. 

The relentless pursuit of academic excellence often leads to burnout and stress among students. 

Breaks in the academic calendar are necessary for students to rejuvenate, engage in recreational activities, spend quality time with family and friends while prioritising their overall health. 

Rest should not be underestimated; it is essential for cognitive functioning, emotional stability and academic performance, making it a fundamental aspect of a well-rounded education system.

Moreover, the emphasis on independent learning during school holidays is a valuable opportunity for  students to explore their interests, pursue creative endeavours and develop critical thinking skills outside the structured classroom environment. 

Independent learning encourages self-motivation, initiative and curiosity, fostering a lifelong love for learning and personal growth. 

It allows students to delve into topics of personal interest, undertake projects and discover new talents and passions that may not be covered in the regular curriculum.

The concept of taking breaks from academic routines also aligns with the notion that education extends beyond textbooks and classrooms. 

There is a wealth of knowledge and life experiences to be gained outside the confines of formal schooling. 

School holidays offer invaluable learning opportunities, such as travelling to different locations, experiencing diverse cultures and gaining practical insights into real-world situations. 

For instance, students from rural areas visiting cities during the holidays or vice versa can broaden their perspectives, learning about different lifestyles and appreciating cultural diversity.

Travelling and exploring new environments not only enhance students’ knowledge but also instill valuable life skills such as adaptability, resilience and open-mindedness. 

These experiences contribute to the holistic development of students, equipping them with a broader understanding of the world and preparing them for future challenges and opportunities.

Indeed, the school term had no disturbances hence we should allow our children to take a well-deserved break.

We should not punish our children because we want to profiteer.

It is a fact that running schools is now considered one of the most lucrative businesses in the country.

But if a school is well run, with a well-planned academic schedule, students will have sufficient time to cover curriculum content, engage in meaningful learning activities and also enjoy periods of relaxation and exploration.

The decision to reject vacation school lessons and promote rest and independent learning during school holidays is a positive step towards nurturing well-rounded and resilient students. 

By prioritising students’ physical and mental well-being, encouraging independent exploration, and valuing experiential learning, schools can create a conducive environment for holistic development and academic success. 

Embracing breaks in the academic calendar not only benefits students but also contributes to a healthier and more balanced education system that prepares students for lifelong learning and personal fulfilment.

The breaks are also good for teachers. 

As we build our country and pursue Vision 2030, of an upper-middle income economy, it is important that everyone be on top of their game.

And it is no secret that one of the most important acts to perform at one’s peak is rest.

So, this holiday, let us respect the decision by Government to let the children and schools personnel rest so that they come back rejuvenated to contribute to national development.

The author, Tawanda Chenana, is a businessman and philanthropist as well as the ZANU-PF Secretary for Education in Mashonaland East.


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