Govt Issues Stern Warning To Private Schools

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

SCHOOLS that will deviate from the Cabinet approved 2021 school calendar risk being charged and de-registered, the Education Ministry has warned.

The warning follows proposals by some private schools for a separate calendar as they argued their pupils had been learning through online during lockdown period.

However, in a statement Thursday, the Education Ministry secretary Tumisang Thabela, said her office still maintains all authority in the governance of the education system in Zimbabwe.

She said the ministry had noted with concern claims that the Association of Trust Schools (ATS) has come up with its own 2021 school calendar.

“The ministry takes this opportunity to advise its valued learners, parents, guardians, teachers and other stakeholders that in terms of the Education (Non-Government Schools) Regulations of 2005, Section 9(1), the secretary has published a revised 2021 school calendar and has not allowed any school to deviate from it. All schools are, therefore, expected to adhere to the 2021 school calendar announced by Government,” she said.

Thabela said all schools will open as scheduled in line with the Cabinet decision.

According to the ministry, term one will start on 15 March end, and 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.

“All well-meaning public and private schools including ATS schools, should, therefore, abide by the ministry’s 2021 school calendar. Any deviation from the above school calendar announced will attract censorship with the sternest penalty being de-registration of the deviant school. Responsible authorities of schools are also advised to be guided by the set down ministry procedures on the collection of school fees.

“The Ministry of Education maintains all authority in the governance of the education system in Zimbabwe as it remains committed to provide equitable, quality, inclusive relevant and competence driven primary, secondary and non-formal education at all times,” said Thabela.

She said the ministry reinforces adherence to Covid-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, washing of hands, sanitising and maintaining social distance in all school centres as preparations continue for the opening of schools and the accelerated implementation of teaching and learning activities.