NO date has been set for opening of schools and once it has been set, the President will announce it to the public, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking yesterday after the launch of the Vision of Primary and Secondary Education (VOPSE) 2030 Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Chapter, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema said in the meantime, schools were rigorously preparing for opening.
“People will be informed by the President on when the schools have been opened, when he has set the date. We are all directed by the His Excellency and we get directive and guidance from him. In the meantime, parents have to ensure they prepare their children for opening of schools by providing them masks.
“Government will do its bit but parents too have to do their bit because Government alone can’t do everything. Parents must protect their children as we abide by Ministry of Health and Child Care regulations. Last year our schools did well to prepare for opening and preparations are currently underway. We want to learn from our mistakes and improve from last time. For now, people must just know that schools will be opened at the time when the President says they will be opened,” he said.
Minister Mathema conducted a tour of projects at Tennyson Hlabangana High School and Ntabeni Primary School. Cabinet has instructed all public schools to engage in commercial and industrial projects for sustainable development.
He said funds from such projects would also help schools to set up online infrastructure.
“We have to go full steam ahead to ensure online learning. Every public school must have online learning. There is no reason why each school can’t engage in online learning because each school has enough land to engage in commercial projects.
“The money which is raised through the projects will be poured into development of schools and development of online infrastructure.
Once we have online learning as a ministry, we will embark on a programme where we will train parents because some are not previewed on how to use the internet. I would like to emphasise that pupils should not be used as sources of cheap labour.”
Cde Mathema said his ministry working with the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities will slowly transform Blair toilets into flushing toilets and replace hand pumps with piped water.
“The ministry now desires not only to be the repository of significant skills and knowledge but also seeks, in keeping with the competence-based curriculum, to contribute to the production of goods and services. We have now reached a time when knowledge and skills must now find effective application and translate into quality goods and services. That is the vision we would like to realise, and for us in the ministry, failure is not an option,” he said.
Minister Mathema said under the VOPSE 2030 a competence-based curriculum was a vehicle for the development of knowledge and skills and the production of goods and services.
He said a competence-based curriculum and VOPSE 2030 should lead to productivity and creativity as well as promote entrepreneurship and technological advancement while preparing learners for higher and tertiary education and other areas of endeavour.
“I would like to take this opportunity to invite private investors to engage in Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) ventures with public schools which should result in the construction of more schools including boarding schools in every district. As you are aware, against a Grade 7 candidature of about 300 000 learners each year, there are only 24 000 boarding schools creating an untenable situation where demand far outstrips supply,” said Minister Mathema.
Minister Mathema toured horticulture, poultry and cattle production projects at Tennyson Hlabangana High School and a poultry project at Ntabeni Primary School.
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