THIS year’s schools calendar has now been set with a total of 164 teaching days across the three terms so that pupils can catch up on the work that has been missed through the long furloughs required last year and this year to beat back Covid-19.
The first term opens on Monday, March 15 for the three examination classes (Form Six, Form Four and Grade Seven) and the rest of the classes a week later on Monday, March 22.
Term one will end on Friday, June 4.
The second term begins on Monday June 28, ending Friday, September 10.
The third term will start on Monday October 4, ending on Friday December 17 with the first term of 2022 starting on January 10 next year.
All holiday breaks this year will have 23 days,far shorter than normal.
The academic calendar has 56 learning days for the first term, 53 for the second term and 55 in the third term, with public holidays being observed and no learning taking place on these days.
Unlike the traditional calendar, which starts early in January and manages to pack all but two public holidays into the holidays, this year will see most holidays in the first and second terms.
The resumption of face to face classes this month follows a thorough exercise by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Health and Child Care to ensure a safe return to the standard teaching in classrooms.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema thanked all Zimbabweans for their role in controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus which has enabled schools to re-open.
“The calendar has been carefully crafted, aimed at ensuring that learners catch up on the lost time while we are also aware that they need holidays in between,” he said.
“I want to thank everybody for playing their part in ensuring the pandemic is controlled. Covid-19 is still a threat and we need to remain vigilant.
That is why we have put measures in place at all schools for a safe environment to avoid a spike in infections.
“Teachers are a very important stakeholders in the education sector and we prioritise them. We urge them to play their role as they have always been doing. We have lost a lot of time and it is important that learners can now properly resume their classes,” said Minister Mathema.
“I want to thank parents for the important role they played with children in taking care of them during the long holidays.
“Every child in Zimbabwe has the right to education and Government was doing its best to ensure this was achieved.”
Private players and churches involved in education were being urged to build more schools.
“No child in Zimbabwe must walk for 5km to school. That era must be behind us and those willing to build schools must do so but they should be in compliance with the requirements,” said Minister Mathema.
He said last year’s public examination results were not ideal but exonerated stakeholders saying they had done well under the circumstances.
“Our immediate challenge now is to adhere to the protocols to avoid a spike in infections. Going forward, we want to improve the education system of our country.
“There are a lot of projects in the pipeline like the industrialisation of practical subjects like agriculture to make them profitable,” said Minister Mathema.
Team leader from the Government side in the salary negotiations with civil servants Mr Moses Mhike said the welfare of teachers would always be prioritised through continuous negotiations to address their concerns.
“Negotiations are ongoing and we are always engaging unions to address their concerns. The channels for addressing workers’ concerns are clear and on the Government side, we are always engaging.
“The Government has publicised the dates for re-opening of schools and the teachers are aware of the dates. They are supposed to be back at work, so we are looking forward to the resumption of classes,” said Mr Mhike.
Child President Mukudzeiishe Madzivire welcomed the move to re-open schools.
“We embrace with open arms, the opening of schools,” he said.
National Association of Secondary Heads president Mr Arthur Maposa and his National Association of Primary Heads counterpart Mrs Cynthia Khumalo both welcomed the decision saying the re-opening of schools was long overdue.