BULAWAYO – Some school teachers in Bulawayo have defied a recent government ban on holiday lessons on school going pupils.
Speaking in separate interviews with ZimLive Tuesday, the teachers cited the need to supplement their meagre government wages.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education announced a ban in holiday lessons.
Authorities said unlike during the Covid-19 lockdown period when children needed to catch up on missed schooling, the 2023 school calendar was never interrupted hence the need to allow children to rest.
However, a snap survey by ZimLive in some of Bulawayo’s suburbs indicated that some teachers were still conducting extra lessons in their homes.
One teacher who takes children for extra lessons in her Emganwini home said she charged her primary school students US$5 per week.
“Most of the students here are from my class at the school that I teach,” she said.
“I charge a minimum fee for my services and this complements my monthly income.
“The extra lessons also help students, especially those who are lagging behind in class to catch up.”
Another teacher from Pumula, who also preferred not to be named, said conducting extra lessons was a risk he had to take in order to feed his family.
“Civil servants are not well paid; they struggle to even send their own children to good schools.
“Extra lessons help us to make ends meet,” he said.
Following the ban on holiday lessons, some high school boarding teachers are also renting buildings in the central business district to conduct extra lessons.
Students are charged US$10 per subject.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) spokesperson Thembakuye Moyo said despite the financial challenges faced by teachers, the union does not recommend extra lessons as means of making money.
“As ARTUZ, we are a pro-poor union, a union that is biased towards the masses.
“We have always been clear that teachers are paid by the government. No parent or guardian should pay a teacher for extra lessons.
“Some of the reasons why teachers could be conducting extra lessons could be that they are hungry and at the same time learners are performing badly.
“Some teachers could genuinely be doing this as a means of trying to improve their students’ results.”
The government has declared that paid extra lessons were illegal, stating that teachers are supposed to teach the syllabus during the school calendar.