Let normal operations prevail in our schools

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EDITOR – Zimbabwean schools will be fully open tomorrow as the last group in the phased re-opening of learning institutions returns, but one wonders whether the basic things that ensure uninterrupted learning to take place have been sorted out.
For a long time now, the government and its education sector employees have been squabbling over salaries and other working conditions, which — by the way — are also experienced in other sections of the civil service.

The government does not have money to fund the kind of salary increments that its workforce wants and this is not a secret.

However, problems occur when parents are required to send their children back to school as well as
pay their fees when there is no learning taking place.

It is grossly unfair for the learners because although they may not say it out openly, spending the whole day at school playing exposes them to several other dangers they may not encounter when at home.

There are so many routes the government could have taken in this case, especially if they had engaged stakeholders in the sector. One would have been to write off the year and start afresh at whatever time things will stabilise
next year.

This would afford the government time to talk to its employee until they reach an agreement on what should be done in terms of salaries, allowances and other working conditions. Nothing beats dialogue and open talk.

Problems and mistrust reign supreme where people do not talk to each other and where there is little or no communication. Naturally, humans communicate with each other to solve crucial conflicts that
may occur.

The other problem is the coronavirus (Covid-19) environment in which learners are being forced to
operate. Then of course there is the issue of lack of preparedness for public examinations on the part of
learners.

The majority of classes have been forced to sit examinations with little or no preparation, let alone completing their respective syllabi.

There is no benefit in sticking our heads in the sand and pretend all is well when we pretty well know that our children have gone through one of their worst years in terms of education. We should learn to identify and
accept our shortcomings as a nation and be open with each other over these. This sincerity will give
us a formidable foundation on which to build our nation. Jameson Gutusa.
WeNdaumbwe Hono.
Zaka.

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