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Parents take Mpopoma High School to task over examinations

by Staff reporter
31 Dec 2023 at 23:20hrs | Views
PARENTS of Mpopoma High School pupils in Bulawayo are accusing teachers of abandoning their duties resulting in the school recording a low pass rate in local examinations.

Parents who spoke to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said teachers were resorting to just sending notes on pupils' cellphones with minimal pupil-teacher interaction.

They said excellent results are achieved on external examinations largely because learners sitting for Ordinary and Advanced Level exams resort to extra lessons, which are usually conducted by the same teachers for a fee.

"It's now mobile education at Mpopoma High School. Our children are being shortchange by teachers who are no longer attending classes. The send notes via WhatsApp platforms, something which disadvantages children whose parents can't afford smartphones or data," said a parent.

Another parent said what was worrying was that the school administration seemed to be condoning such a lackadaisical approach to duty by teachers.

"If there were supervising teachers, the school administration should have addressed this issue hence we believe there is no supervision at all. It seems the school administration is agreeable to this sad state of affairs at the school, once an academic jewel at both regional and national level," said the parent.

Pupils at the school confirmed that teachers rarely reported for duty in classrooms and were now just sending notes via WhatsApp or assigning student teachers.

"It's just a handful of teachers who are religiously reporting to the classrooms for lessons. Yes, we understand that we are in the 21st century but sometimes you need that verbal explanation from the teacher," said one of the pupils.

Contacted for comment, Mpopoma High School headmaster, Mr Christopher Dube referred questions to the Mzilikazi District Schools Inspector (DSI), Mrs Zanele Muyambo.

"I am not allowed as a matter of policy to speak to the media on such matters, contact our DSI," said Mr Dube.

Mrs Muyambo could not be reached for comment.

Bulawayo Provincial Education Director (PED) Mr Bernard Mazambani said beyond classroom learning was an acceptable way now as they adopted it from the Covid-19 era which paralysed the entire physical learning system.

He, however, said the concept applied mainly to homework assignments.

Mr Mazambani said teachers are not supposed to abandon their classrooms. He said the ministry was not aware of the latest development and promised to investigate.

"We may need to check with the school, but I want to urge concerned parents to come and complain to the ministry first before going to the media.

"Teachers are employed by the ministry and for them to perform or for the Ministry to take disciplinary action, dereliction of duty must be reported to us," he said.

This is not the first time that Mpopoma High School parents have complained of the teachers conduct.

In 2015, learners and parents accused the teachers of opening ‘an annex' school at a nearby rented church building where they forced pupils to pay for extra lessons after abandoning their normal duties at the school.

Parents told the media that their children were being forced to fork out US$50 per month for the illegal extra lessons.

Mpopoma High School was established in 1959 and has several notable alumni through its many years of excellence in academic, sports and arts fields.

Source - The Chronicle