Helen McGhie head backs down

SIMBARASHE MTEMBO


MASVINGO – Helen McGhie Primary School head Sheila Deve has apologised and backed down on a number of decisions she imposed on parents. Her u-turn follows a petition written to the acting Provincial Education Director (PED) Shylatte Mhike by the parents.

In the climbdown, Deve will no longer go ahead with her plans to hold School Development Committee (SDC) elections midweek as she stated in her earlier notice. She moved the elections from Tuesday May 18 to Saturday May 22 2021 after parents argued the majority of them who are formally employed will not be able to attend midweek school activities.

Deve reversed her decision of forcing pupils to attend schools for two days a week. Parents contested this particularly as it happened a few days after Deve increased school fees by 75% to $7 000 a term. Deve had argued that the two days per week arrangement was due to Covid19.

Deve also increased the number of trips that the school bus will make; from one to two in the morning. This was also one of the complaints in the petition that the bus was not benefitting parents who in any case are the owners of the bus because they used their money to buy it.

Deve reported the changes in a message she sent to a WhatsApp group for parents on Friday.

“Dear parents please be informed that Monday 10 May 2021, all learners will be coming to school daily, no more sessions. Dismissal time ECD A to Grade 5 is 1pm. Grade 6 and 7 dismissal time remains 330pm. Third issue the bus timetable now starts at 5.30am from the school so as at cover two trips in the morning. The date for the AGM has been moved to Saturday May 22, time 9am to allow more groups of 50s to participate. We apologise for any inconveniences caused,” reads the WhatsApp message sent to parents by Deve.

Efforts to get a comment from Deve were futile.

In their petition, parents accused Deve and the SDC chairman Tinashe Mutema of bad governance. They alleged that members of the SDC and some staff members were getting tenders from the school in violation of good governance rules. They accused the head of setting the SDC election date midweek in order to rig the elections by excluding the majority of them from the plebiscite.

The SDC committee has been in office for 6 years.

“Holding elections midweek is a ploy to rig by ensuring that formally employed parents are excluded from the elections. The SDC has resorted to bullying and intimidatory tactics,” read part of the petition. https://masvingomirror.com

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