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Meet the new head at Gutu’s largest school

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Meet the new head at Gutu’s largest school

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ELLEN MLAMBO
MIRROR REPORTER

GUTU – Atinos Tonhodzai is the new head at Gutu District’s biggest school by enrolment.
Hwiru Primary, located at Mpandawana has an enrolment of 2 040 and 48 teachers, making it by far the largest learning institution in Gutu and one of the biggest in Masvingo Province.
Tonhodzai, an accomplished educationist and a man with a track record of building critical networks took charge of Hwiru on May 1, 2023, when enrolment stood at 1 600 and in just one year it shot by 27,5% to 2 040 pupils.
He hit the ground running, starting many new key projects at the school.
However, like many other school administrators he has mountains to climb and is determined to do just that.
Tonhodzai worries about hot sitting at Hwiru and the shortage of space for infants. His key priorities are therefore to build an ECD Center in the shortest possible time and to increase the number of classrooms for Grade 1 to 7.
“We get a lot of support from parents, council and the Ministry of Education and I am confident that with such kind of support, our tasks will be very small,” said the simple and soft-spoken school head.
He also expressed concern at the high teacher pupil ratio which he again is confident that the Ministry will address.
Tonhodzai has an impressive record particularly from Gertnel Primary in Chatsworth, Gutu, the last school he headed for 10 years.
He put up a computer lab at the school and sourced a donation of 32 desktops and three printers from World Computers Exchange. The impact of such a project is undoubtedly huge on rural children like those from Gertnel.
Tonhodzai introduced music equipment at the same school, particularly a four-piece set of marimba with the help of Zimbabwe Newspapers.
He also built a school library with the support of Aussie books and the project was officially commissioned by the then Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bronte Moules in 2021. He built a classroom block at Mawere where he was once head.
At Hwiru, Tonhodzai has started a fishery project with three ponds carrying 13 000 fish. Pig sties have been built and a few pigs are already at the school to kick-start the project.
A broiler chicken project has also been started and the school is looking forward to building a weather station. The weather station project is timely considering that the Meteorological Services Department has mooted a programme to train schools in rain-gauge reading and other weather-related matters.
Tonhodzai was born at Chitando Clinic in Gutu and he went to Mukaro Primary School. He attended his secondary school at Highfields High in Harare and joined Andrew Law College between 1982 and 1986.
He started his teaching career at Chiguhune Primary School in Chiguhune, Gutu in 1986. He later transferred to Hunduza Primary and was promoted to deputy head at Mukwasi Primary. He became the head at Mawere Primary between 2009 and 2011. He was transferred in the same position to Gertnel in 2012.
He is a holder of a Bachelor of Education Degree.
He is married to Pricinia and they have four children Douglas, Tatenda, Poteredzai and Sheunesu. The couple is also blessed with three grandchildren.

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