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Private schools want own calendar

by Godknows Hofisi
11 Mar 2021 at 06:17hrs | Views
PRIVATE schools have proposed to Government to have a different school calendar from the one announced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education last week.

The schools want the first term to end on March 31 and the second term to start on May 3.

A week ago, Cabinet announced that schools will open for the First Term next Monday for examination classes and the rest of the classes will open on March 22.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education then released the 2021 schools calendar.

According to the ministry, Term One ends on June 4 with the second term commencing on June 28, ending on September 10. The third term will start on October 4 and end on December 17.

Schools were supposed to open on 4 January but Government was forced to defer the opening due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Private schools said they want a separate schools calendar given the fact that they have been conducting online lessons when schools were closed. They have since written to the ministry requesting to be allowed to close on March 31 and reopen on May 3 for the second term.

The schools are arguing that there is no need for them to have an extended school term since they have already covered a lot of ground.

In the event their proposal is approved, it means pupils at private schools will not break for Easter holiday and return to school as is the case with Government and mission schools. This year Good Friday falls on April 2 while Easter Monday is on April 5.

Some parents, particularly those with children at boarding schools are already counting the costs of breaking for Easter holidays and returning to school after the holidays.

Primary and Secondary Education Ministry communication and advocacy manager Mr Taungana Ndoro yesterday confirmed that private schools had approached the Ministry with a proposal for a separate schools calendar. He said the ministry is yet to respond to their request.

"The calendar we are using is the one approved by Cabinet and this is supposed to be for all schools. We received their request and until such a time that Government approves their proposal, the opening of schools is on 15 March for examination classes and March 22 for the rest of classes," said Mr Ndoro.

He said the private schools were saying that their pupils were having online lessons when schools were closed but the Government position is that online lessons are there to complement face-to-face lessons.

"We have to conduct both online and physical face to face lessons as we need to catch up on lost time in 2020 and also time which has been lost in 2021," he said. Association of Trust Schools executive director Mr Tim Middleton declined to comment on the matter.

"We deal with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education directly on all matters to do with education. We deal with them not with the Press or with others. It's a matter between our association and the Ministry. It's a private matter between the association of private schools and the ministry of education," said Mr Middleton.

Reporters understand that some private schools have already told parents and guardians that they will close on March 31 while others have advised that pupils will continue with online lessons until the end of the school term at the end of this month.

Source - chroncile

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