The government has started re-registering and regularising some private schools that it had shut down last year.
This is being done to help absorb thousands of South Africa-based learners likely to join their parents coming back home in the coming months following the expiry of their Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs).
Speaking to NewsDay, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Director of Communications and Advocacy, Taungana Ndoro, said:
Processes are underway to put in place measures to adopt the learners into local schools.
We have those schools that we call non-governmental or private schools that are in the process of being registered and regularised, and the government is building more schools.
We are also encouraging private players to play their role and make sure we have enough schools to cater for the deficit, particularly in the highly-populated areas.
Zimbabwe has a student population of six million but has a deficit of 3 000 schools.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said that local schools will struggle to accommodate the children of returnees. Zhou said:
We will have bloated classes. Resources like chairs, books and others will also be in shortage.
We would have hoped that the government would engage its South African counterpart for a gradual return of our people instead of a once-off flooding of returnees.
We know that an additional number of learners will worsen the plight of learners in schools.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association secretary-general Goodwill Taderera said:
No doubt those learners will be crammed in classes because already the teacher-pupil ratio was abnormally high.
Teachers are very committed but the government should now take this issue seriously to avoid worsening the situation.
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