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No holiday break for Grade 7s

by Staff reporter
10 Oct 2023 at 06:02hrs | Views
The government has sparked controversy by announcing that Grade 7 pupils, who completed their Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) tests, will be required to continue attending school. Additionally, school field trips for these junior school graduates have been banned. This directive has triggered backlash from parents and teacher unions who find it unreasonable.

Many parents who had traveled to boarding schools in anticipation of collecting their children returned home empty-handed, as they had been accustomed to doing so immediately after exams.

In a circular dated October 5, 2023, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education instructed schools to ensure that Grade 7 pupils attend classes until the end of the term. The ministry's permanent secretary, Kwadzanai Nyanungo, also prohibited Grade 7 pupils from going on field trips after their exams due to safety concerns.

Nyanungo stated, "The time after the last Grade 7 examination paper is not a school holiday because all Grade 7 pupils should attend classes until the end of the term. Heads of schools are duty-bound to make solid arrangements for all Grade 7 pupils to receive meaningful lessons and practical exercises in preparation for their transition to secondary school."

To align with the curriculum and ensure pupils' safety, no educational tours are permitted for schools after the Grade 7 examinations.

In addition to the field trip ban, the government has also prohibited schools from organizing fundraising programs. Some schools had already planned and collected fees for post-exam field trips to tourist destinations.

Obert Masaraure, president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, expressed skepticism about the order, stating that the government should provide a post-Grade 7 learning program and important life skills to occupy learners meaningfully.

Goodwill Taderera, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, highlighted the challenge of enforcing the measure, as Grade 7 learners may have already mentally transitioned out of primary school.

A disgruntled parent criticized the directive as unnecessary and burdensome, arguing that it places undue pressure on underpaid teachers and pupils who may no longer have a strong interest in continuing primary school.

Source - newsday
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