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Parents cry foul over holiday lessons ban – NewsDay

Kuwadzana Primary school teacher Rosemary Chakanyuka conducting a lesson as pupils sit on concrete slubs with the moveable desks.

BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
GOVERNMENT has refused to bow down to pressure from parents who want children to attend holiday lessons, saying the practice was long outlawed.

Holiday lessons have long been banned because government felt that they had given rise to corrupt activities at schools.

Parents, who spoke to NewsDay, however, maintain that holiday lessons should be allowed after lessons were disrupted in 2020 and 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As parents, we are saying we want our children who are writing examinations to be allowed to pay for extra lessons since their studies were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We just want the ministry to reverse its decision because we fear that our children will fail,” one parent said.

Another parent, Dorothy Masango, said: “Our children’s future will be doomed. We can’t afford paying fees for them to repeat again. Our children’s learning was affected by strikes by teachers and the COVID-19 pandemic. Government should consider that.”

However, Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said extra lessons remained illegal.

“Let’s follow the government’s policy,” Ndoro said.

Recently, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission said it was investigating corruption at schools in connection with the holiday lessons.

Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said teachers could only compensate for the lost time if their employer paid them
enough.

“Parents’ concern for their children is justified. They are aware that learning time has been wasted, hence they are trying to compensate for lost time by demanding extra lessons to be brought back. However, extra lessons are still illegal, and teachers doing extra lessons may be reprimanded any time,” Zhou said, further noting that the poorly-remunerated teachers were not motivated to work during school days.

“No amount of extra lessons can compensate for the low salaries.”

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said: “We are against extra lessons. What we can assure parents is that we want money from the government, and once we get it, we will make sure that we teach children well to the maximum.”

Last year, teachers and private tutors were said to be cashing in on extra lessons, especially for secondary examination classes as parents and guardians became desperate to make up for lost time, which was caused by the COVID-19 lockdown period.

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Unicef supports Zimbabwean schools with equipment for radio lessons – NewsDay

Unicef supports Zimbabwean schools with equipment for radio lessons

BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI
UNICEF today handed over 1500 radio sets and 1500 Universal Serial Bus (USBs) with pre-recorded radio lessons to promote offline learning to urban and marginalised communities in the country.

The radio sets and USBs will assist students to cover up for the learning time they lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during the solar radio handover ceremony today, UNICEF representative Tajudeen Oyewale said his organisation will continue supporting Zimbabwean learners.

“As UNICEF, we are strongly committed that every child has the right to education.  With assistance from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UNICEF procured additional 1500 solar radio sets to further promote access to radio lessons in remote areas by secondary school students in disadvantaged communities.

radio sets

“The radios are equipped with a USB port which enables students to learn through pre-recorded lessons and offline playback of digital files. Taking advantage of this specification, the procurement of 1500 memory sticks uploaded with pre-recorded lessons that were developed and aired on the radio is also in progress. The solar radio sets will be distributed with the memory sticks to 1500 secondary schools across the country, benefitting a total of about 400,000 learners, “he said.

Oyewale said since the advent of COVID-19 induced school closures in March 2020, UNICEF has been supporting various alternatives and blended learning arrangements put in place by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to ensure that children continue accessing education during school closures through the provision of radio lessons introduced in June 2020.

In 2021, UNICEF procured and distributed 3,000 solar radio sets to targeted disadvantaged primary schools and community learning circles across the country.  This included schools in Tongogara camp, which were supported with radio lessons.

Oyewale said since the launch of the Catch-Up Strategy in 2021 by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, UNICEF has procured teaching and learning materials for every primary and secondary school in all 72 districts, benefitting about 4.6 million children.

Unicef supports Zimbabwean schools with equipment for radio lessons

“These include 700,000 Grade 7 self-study guides, 600,000 Mathematics textbooks, 14,000 copies of the Assessment framework, 300,000 Catch-up teaching and learning materials, and 450,000 Grade 5 and 6 Workbooks and 210,000 Non-Formal Education Modules.

“There is no doubt that the arrival of the solar radios at the schools and communities will help learners to catch-up with the standard curriculum”, he said.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Eveline Ndlovu said the past two years has taught the ministry to adopt and adapt to ways of teaching and learning that are digitised and premised on use of technological gadgets.

She said provision of access to education has proved to be quite challenging for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education due to the unforeseen scourges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The radios will also provide alternative learning, remote learning and blended learning to both formal learners and non-formal learners, thereby bridging in the gap caused by the increased drop-out rate due to various disasters that have affected the country’s face to face instruction due to COVID 19 pandemic,” Ndlovu said.

She said her ministry will ensure that learners with hearing challenges access the lessons in script form or on other alternative platforms.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) development director Geraldine O’Callaghan said the United Kingdom government is committed to support all children in Zimbabwe to achieve their potential and to be able to continue learning regardless of where they live.

“In particular, when asked to see what support we could provide to the ministry’s catch-up strategy and implementation framework over the last two years, we have been happy to fund over US$1m to provide materials such as reading and numeracy cards and teachers and school heads guides to first determine the levels of foundational literacy and numeracy needed by students to enable them to learn effectively, and then provide teachers with methods to increase those literacy levels. These materials are now in all primary and secondary schools across the country,” she said.

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Footsteps for Africa – Santa Barbara News-Press

Montecito couple’s generous support benefits lives of students and community in Namibia

COURTESY PHOTOS
Footsteps for Africa has helped children at Oshamukweni Combined School in Namibia.

Because of a generous six-figure donation from Montecito residents Tiara and Alan Salzman, living conditions have improved greatly for hundreds of children who live in Namibia.

The funds went to Footsteps for Africa, a nonprofit that provides aid to disadvantaged children.

The organization was able to build new bunkhouses, a kitchen and dining hall for 300 students and more than 100 children living on school grounds at Oshamukweni Combined School.

“Upon learning the critical needs of these disadvantaged children in Namibia, and as a mother myself, nothing was more important to us than to support Footsteps for Africa in helping these children succeed,” Mrs. Salzman told the News-Press during a phone interview from Hawaii, where she and her husband were vacationing with their blended family of seven.

Montecito residents Tiara and Alan Salzman made a six-figure donation to Footsteps for Africa, which built new facilities at Oshamukweni Combined School.

The Footsteps for Africa team held a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently to reveal the finished project to students, teachers, government officials and community members from 11 surrounding villages in the rural area. The new facilities now serve as a gathering place for the larger community and encourage greater participation and awareness of Oshamukweni School.

“Namibia is the third richest country in Africa, but it has the third highest levels of income inequality of any country in the world. For this reason, Footsteps for Africa has focused most of its efforts serving children in the most impoverished areas in northern Namibia by building school structures and supporting clean water and sustainable food programs,” said Mr. Salzman.

New facilities unveiled as part of the project include Salzman Kitchen, a 2,000 square-foot building equipped with food preparation equipment, showers, restrooms and cold storage; Salzman Hall, a 5,000 square-foot dining and congregation hall that will serve not only the school but the entire community of several thousand people; and two bunkhouses, each housing 25 students. 

The Oshamukweni Combined School’s new Salzman Kitchen is a 2,000 square-foot building equipped with food preparation equipment, showers, restrooms and cold storage.

“Due to their generosity, Footsteps for Africa has bettered the lives of those in this village,” said Isak Hamatwi, director of education at Ohangwena Regional Council. “The schooling life and learning environment at Oshamukweni Combined School will no longer be a life of struggle but a life befitting a life in an independent country.”   

Namola Abraham, a ninth-grade student, told the Salzmans: “Namibia has a lot of schools. Among all of those schools, Footsteps for Africa chose to help our school, and we thank you for that. I am very happy for the (Salzman Kitchen) because we now no longer have to cook on fires outside.” 

The Salzmans’ connection to Footsteps for Africa came through Mrs. Cameron’s brother, Austin Cameron, who founded the organization in 2010 after seeing the plight of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) while he lived in Zimbabwe and Zambia for two years and while doing anthropological research in Namibia.

A large crowd attends the grand opening of the school’s new facilities.

“Lack of educational opportunities or the resources to obtain an education was a major problem in virtually every area Austin visited, and it became his passion to assist as many OVC and surrounding communities as possible,” said Mrs. Salzman.

Footsteps for Africa has provided aid to more than 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children in more than 50 schools and orphanages in Namibia and Zimbabwe since 2010. The organization currently has teams in the U.S., Namibia and Zimbabwe. 

Services provided include importation and distribution of goods, the building of facilities and implementation of medical and food programs.

“Through partnerships with other aid organizations, government relationships and the commitment to physically being on site for every initiative, Footsteps for Africa works efficiently and ensures that aid reaches the people who need it the most,” said Mr. Salzman.

Footsteps for Africa, which is based in Utah, is continuing to fund and embark on improvement projects across Namibia, according to the Salzmans. 

Students surround a big “thank you” banner addressed to Montecito couple Tiara and Alan Salzman for their donation to Footsteps for Africa, which built this bunkhouse at Oshamukweni Combined School.

Donations can be made at www.footstepsforafrica.com, and will go directly to resources such as:

— School uniforms: A $100 donation provides one child with a uniform and school supplies for the year.

— Sanitary products: Footsteps for Africa aims to provide washable sanitary pad kits to 1,000 adolescent girls, along with education to battle school absenteeism and “period shaming.” A $10 donation covers one sanitary kit per girl.

— Water supply: Footsteps for Africa will install 15 water wells, solar pumps and agriculture water tanks near Oshamukweni School, ultimately bringing reliable access to clean water to S20,000 people. The fundraising target is $250,000.

— Bunkhouses: Furnished bunkhouses for disadvantaged students at Oshamukweni Combined School as well as other schools in the region, including Ondobe Secondary School in Oshikango, Namibia. The fundraising target is $50,000 per bunkhouse or $2,000 per student. 

“What  Footsteps is doing is providing direct assistance to help children with education, food and housing, all of which are pathways to better lives,” said Mr. Salzman.

email: mmcmahon@newspress.com

FYI

For more information about Footsteps for Africa or to make a donation, visit www.footstepsforafrica.com

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Margaret Dongo gives account of liberation war sex abuses – The Zimbabwe Mail

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Cooper/AP/Shutterstock (7249609a)
DONGO Margaret Dongo, leader of the opposition party the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD), talks to the press, after a busload of about 70 ruling ZANU (PF) supporters stoned her house in Sunningdale, about 2 kilometers south of Harare city center, yesterday. Ruling party supporters pelted the home with stones and bricks, injuring five people and smashing windows, roof panels and the front door, Dongo said Monday
ZIMBABWE VIOLENCE, HARARE, Zimbabwe


WAR veteran Margaret Dongo says the story of sexual abuse of women ex-combatants by their commanders during the armed struggle in the military camps is yet to be told fully.

Dongo lifted the lid on the sexual abuses during an interview with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chairman Trevor Ncube on his weekly programme, In Conversation with Trevor whose excerpts are set to be published in our sister paper, The Standard.

“The truth has never been told about the history of the struggle, vis-à-vis women. I hope that one day, we will have some people who will be bold enough to stand up and talk about it,” she said.

“It’s a pity that very little is going to come from women themselves because they have been marginalised intentionally to make sure that they are not able to speak for themselves.

“Some people were abused by the bosses themselves. They (bosses) could have more than three or four girlfriends. When he (boss) comes from Maputo, he said: ‘Go and get me a girl from the camp.’


“We used to have female commanders at the camp that could blow the whistle calling women for a parade to look for a girl for the bosses. You were paraded not because they wanted all of us, but one. Those, who knew that they would be victims, would run away.”

Dongo said there were camps where pregnant women and those with babies were “dumped” after the abuse.

“Women lived under a terrible environment. They (women) ended up with babies not because they wanted to, they were raped. We used to have a camp called Osibhisa, where you were dumped when you got pregnant.

“If there were any attacks, you needed to have your baby, gun, and run away. Those women suffered and there was no special food for those children. They could get the feed here and there.”

In 2006, former Education minister Fay Chung published a book titled Reliving the Second Chimurenga that exposed some of the abuses by the guerilla war commanders.

In her book, Chung fingered late Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army commander Josiah Tongogara in the abuse of women at Pungwe III, a military camp on the banks of Pungwe River in Mozambique. – News Day Zimbabwe


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