UPDATED: Schools to close and re-open early

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Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
SCHOOLS will close on Thursday, July 26 to accommodate the harmonised elections set for July 30 with the Third Term now starting a week earlier on  September 4 to ensure that pupils are not disadvantaged, the Government said yesterday.

Schools opened on May 8 for the Second Term that was supposed to end on  August 9.

The Third Term, which was initially scheduled to start on September 11, will now commence on September 4.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango, said the calendar change had been necessitated by the harmonised elections.

“Following the proclamation of the 2018 harmonised elections scheduled for July 30 2018, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education advises that schools will close for the Second Term on Thursday, July 26 and open for the Third Term on Tuesday, September 4, 2018,” she said.

Dr Utete-Masango said schools should put up programmes to ensure that pupils are not disadvantaged by the early closure of schools.

“The opening of schools in Third Term has been brought forward as a measure to compensate for the early closure of Term Two. In addition, schools should put programmes in order to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged,” she said.

Many teachers are likely to be engaged as polling officers.

The First Term had a shortened school term calendar and this was necessitated by the Easter holidays.

The term was shortened to 11 weeks instead of 13 weeks.

Each year, parents normally resort to extra lessons for examination sitting pupils but Government has maintained that it is illegal to offer extra lessons to pupils for a fee.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima has previously said:

“Extra lessons are a problem because we cannot have a rational civil service with extra lessons.

“What if teachers then do not teach during the normal time waiting for parents to pay something in order to receive a service that you were supposed to receive from Government anyway? So the issue of extra lessons had serious problems.

“So we are not going back to a situation where teachers are paid for extra lessons but we are not saying no to extra lessons per se. What we are saying no to is the payment.”