Teachers Union Assists School Dropouts To Return To Class

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By Brenda Mabikwa

DUE to the high number of school dropouts recorded in the country, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has appealed to the public to assist the association with details of pupils failing to continue with their education and help them to return to class.

In a statement Friday, the teachers’ union said it was tracking school dropouts and to help them to return to class.

Schools open for 2022 on 7 February after a one-month delay as part of the government’s directive to halt the spread of the Omicron variant.

“We are tracking school dropouts and helping them continue with their education through different initiatives. Help us track all dropouts. Contact Makaita Ngwenya on +263771910870 and share details of anyone you know who needs assistance,” ARTUZ said.

The latest statistics show that nearly one million students dropped out of school over the past year due to various reasons, including pregnancies among the girls.

Friedrich Nauman Foundation programmes manager Fungisai Sithole said that out of approximately six million students in learning institutions in the country, about 840 000 had dropped out of school.

“These children have no access to phones, they come from poor backgrounds. The education budget priorities should change focus, and we need more digital infrastructure to be able to make sure that, we continue to address issues that separate children,” Sithole said.

In a separate interview, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President (PTUZ) Takavafira Zhou said: “Parents cannot afford digital-driven education and securing learning and teaching materials.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has also forced learners to stay home for long, worsening the crisis as learners got involved in sexual activities leading to teenage pregnancies, and early marriages, and increasing the number of school dropouts.