This year’s school calender has three terms, with the first starting on Monday next week, encompassing in total 185 school days and no exeat weekends to minimise health risks from school breaks.
The first term ends on Thursday April 7, a week before the lengthy and combined five- day long weekend that sees Easter and Independence holidays overlapping with May Day just making the school holidays. This term has 45 school days before the 26 vacation days.
The second term begins on Tuesday May 3, just after the Sunday and Monday Workers Day holiday, and has 69 school days and a 30-day vacation, which includes the long Heroes and Defence Forces holiday weekend, before schools open for the third term on September 5. Learners will have 71 learning days in the third term.
Next year, schools are scheduled to start on January 9 for the first term.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education traditionally sets the school terms and school holidays to ensure almost all public holidays fall in the vacations. Only National Youth Day this month and Africa Unity Day in May fall in the school terms and the ban on exeats means borders stay at school.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson, Mr Taungana Ndoro, said yesterday that all schools, Government and non-Government, “must not seek to deviate” from the announced calendar.
“We need to appreciate that the calendar is for face-to-face teaching and learning but that does not mean that learning should stop even on vacation days,” he said. “We encourage online and digital learning to continue on vacation days so that we are able to catch up on lost time due to Covid-19-induced school closures.”
The school year is starting four weeks later than originally planned on January 10 since the fourth Omicron wave of Covid-19 had to ebb to very low levels before the health authorities gave the green light.
President Mnangagwa imposed a fortnight delay a week before the term was due to start when daily new infections were still hovering around 1 500, and that had to be extended a fortnight later when they had only halved.
Last week they were low enough to go ahead and this week has been set aside to ensure that all schools and parents complete the measures needed to make the risk very low.
Yesterday, a number of parents that could be seen shopping said they were not just splashing out the money, but were looking for the best priced products so that a few dollars could be saved.
“The Government gave us time to prepare. Most of the formally employed parents knew schools would open very soon before they received their January salaries so we are prepared, that’s why we are buying,” said Mrs Angela Macheke.
Another parent, who chose to be identified as Mai Two, said she was happy the children were going back to school.
“We are prepared and excited that our children are going back to school; they are behind and they need to be at school.
“The good thing is that there are no surprises in terms of school fees. We were told to pay the same as we paid last term. The school said they will call a meeting for a
review of the fees and levies during the course of the term and we hope there will be no abnormal hikes.”
In terms of fees hikes, the Government has said parents have the power to decide whether a school can hike fees and levies and to what levels. A special meeting has to be called for the purpose, at least 20 percent of the parents must attend, a majority at the meeting must approve any action and the attendance register and minutes must be forwarded to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for approval of any decision reached. Herald.