Duma Primary School head retires

Brilliant Mukaro

MIRROR REPORTER

BIKITA – The head of Duma, one of the leading primary schools in Bikita, Taurai Albert Mhembere has retired.

Mhembere has served as the head of Duma since 2001. He turned the school into an academic powerhouse that dominated Grade 7 results for Bikita District from then.

A farewell party was held for the veteran educationist last Friday.

Mhembere started teaching in 1981 and retired on July 1 this year having served for 41 years, 11 of them as a teacher, eight as deputy and 22 as head.

Born in 1957 Mhembere did his primary education at Rwambiwa and Mupamaonde schools in 1969. He completed his O levels at Silveira Mission in 1975 and obtained a teaching certificate from Mkoba Teachers’ College in 1980.

He taught at Chipendeke school in Bikita from 1981 to 1984 and at Mazambara Secondary School from 1984 to 1992.

He was promoted to deputy head in September 1992 and was deployed to Zvinyaningwe Primary School in Mashava where he served as acting head until 1999.

He became a substantive head that year and taught at Gudo and Domboshava primary schools before joining Duma primary on May 1, 2001.

Despite his impeccable reign at Duma primary, Mhembere said some of the highlights of his career was when he joined Zvinyaningwe Primary in September 1992 when it was on a brink of closure from the Ministry because it did not have toilets.

The schools only had $12 dollars and no bank account but Mhembere mobilised parents who had lost confidence with the school administration, he sourced funds and managed to built six Blair toilets to the pleasant surprise of the officials who had written off the school.

“When I was promoted deputy head in September 1992 and got to Zvinyaningwe School.There was no handover takeover after the head had left the school. I sifted through the files and I discovered that the school was not opening in January 1993 because there were no toilets.

“I couldn’t believe what happened. I mobilised the School Development Committee (SDC) and parents and by January we had constructed six blair toilets – three for boys and three for girls. The Ministry officials came to inspect the school and were satisfied.

“Further more the school had no bank account and had $12.00 at hand.We opened a school account with the $12.00 at Standard Chartered Bank,” said Mhembere.

He joined Duma when it had just 4 classroom blocks, an administration block, 346 learners and 8 teachers. Today the school boasts of state of the art infrastructure including 13 classroom blocks, 1 870 pupils and a magnificent security wall around the school.

The pass rate has remained above 90%.

Duma has a computer lab with 21 desktops, 20 laptops and 28 mobile tablets to equip students with ICT skills.

“When I got to Duma School in 2001,the school had only four classroom blocks and an admin block. It had 346 learners and eight teachers. We worked on improving the results and we were number one in the District in the 2001 Grade 7 results. From there on our results for grade 7 remained in the 90s %  range up to this day .

“We worked on infrastructure and the school now has 13 classroom blocks and an enrolment of 1 870 learners. The school has a computer lab with 21 desktop computers and 10 laptop and 28 tablets. Solar was installed at the administration and borehole and the school also has solar tower lights,” added Mhembere.

Mhembere was the National Association of Primary School Heads (NAPH) chairperson for Bikita North and the secretary for the Better Schools Program Zimbabwe (BSPZ) for 17 years.

He was the district Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) vice chairperson since it started in Bikita in 2013.

The farewell party was attended by Bikita West MP Elias Musakwa, Bikita District Schools Inspector (DSI) James Mahofa and the Rural District Council (RDC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Chibhi.https://masvingomirror.com

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