Teachers' strike negatively impacting girls' education: Parents

 By Lungile Mangena

Some women in Bulawayo have lamented the growing negative prospects of their girl children having a decent education and better future following news of a teachers strike which is currently taking place countrywide.

Concerned mothers and guardians said that the continued commotion and uncertainty in the education sector continues to undervalue and compromises daily learning students. They said the girl child is especially affected because of the many hurdles already experienced that affect her ability to complete basic education levels including menstruation, domestic chores and other such challenges.

Amakhosikazi Media managed to speak to some women from Bulawayo’s high density areas who stressed their concerns about the future of their girl children in light of the above. 

Nokuthula Khanye from Tshabalala who has two children who are writing examinations this year, one in grade 7 and the other  in form 4 said the teachers strike will greatly affect school children especially those who are writing exams this year. 

“Istrike sama teacher ezikolo sizabulala ingqondo zabantwana ikakhulu labo ababhala imihloliso ograde 7, form 4 and form 6” (the teachers strike in schools will greatly confuse school children especially those who are preparing for exams, the likes of grade 7, form 4 and from 6). Said Khanye. 

It was also reported that in some schools’, some teachers assign senior pupils such as prefects to teach their classes, set tests and mark for children in lower forms and grades.   

A woman from Nkulumane who preferred to be called S’pha, a mother of three school going children said the  pupils were now forced by the situation to stay at home because going to school is nothing but just a waste of time.

Silethokuhle Mlambo, from Mpopoma suburb and a guardian of three girl children said she was concerned about the rise in school fees in schools and the demand that it be paid without any provision for instalments yet teachers are striking. She said it would be better if schools didn’t demand such school fees for the first term because children did not get any education so far.

“l am really concerned about the school fees that we paid, it will be better if the schools refund our monies for school fees that we paid in the beginning of the term, or else they give us permission to use that fees for next term when the situation stabilise”. Said Mlambo. 

Some women from Pumula East who asked not to be named said they have resorted to enrolling their children for extra lesson as they have seen that the situation is getting worse with each day. Some of the women also raised their concerns especially on grade one pupils who are now caught in the situation on their first term at school. 

Patricia Tshabalala who runs Vulindlela Orphanage Care in Mpopoma said she is more concerned about schools that charge high fees whereas children are not taught anything in schools. She said that many women were approaching her seeking assistance with fees payment as most of them are not working.