Some serving and retired teachers in Harare are clandestinely conducting private lessons despite a ban on public gatherings imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The backyard schools are operating mainly in high-density suburbs with the pupils mostly Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced Level students who are set to sit for their national examinations.
In Harare, Kuwadzana, Mabvuku, Dzivaresekwa, Hopley, Tynwald, Glen View and Warren Park top the list of suburbs with backyard schools.
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The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) claims that there could be more than 1 200 makeshift schools operating across the country.
Arnold Chirikure, who conducts private lessons in Kuwadzana, told The Sunday Mail that he has put measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He said:
Education has to carry on. We maintain social distancing and we have since contributed money to buy hand sanitizer that we apply before commencing studies.
I charge as little as US$7 per month for each child. I have since employed two qualified teachers.
Schools were scheduled to reopen on May 5, but reports indicate that the government will push the date forward as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.