The recently released Grade 7 ZIMSEC results serve as a litmus test outcome, showing how much we can go as a nation with regards to education during ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The national pass rate was at 37.11%.
A total of 88 schools in Zimbabwe recorded a 0% pass rate, with the majority of them in rural areas.
First of all quality education is a right, and this pass rate reflects badly on education being offered in the country.
Schools had no option but to shut down in March 2020, a move that was meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 but also proved to be catastrophic to the national education system.
Most countries, including Zimbabwe, resorted to an online system of education.
This was a necessary move but the government has to consider the telecommunications disadvantage faced by those who cannot afford and major constituency of the rural areas who even lacks the technical skills to utilize some platforms.
Accessibility remains a major stumbling block to education at this point, worse without a proper education strategy by the government.
However, many other factors negatively push education delivery in Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, some government officials have the privilege of calling out teachers as ‘desultory’ yet there is more the government could have done to restore the lack of motivation amongst teachers.
As we have written before, it was distressing to note that the President suggests that teachers are trying to hold the government at ransom for demanding better income, better living conditions and even respect as other members in the public service.
If the government was very principled, just like any other employer they would have surely addressed the plight of teachers for the benefit of everyone and not boast about turning their backs on teachers because it was a self-defeating stance as noted now.
Just piece together the Covid-19 pandemic, a government without a strategy, a teacher without motivation and a government not ready to meet the demands of its employees.
When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers the most and in this case, it is our children who are suffering the consequences.
Something besides a mere announcement extending the lockdown should be done and in this case, a strategic plan should be put in place to carter for marginalized communities and rural schools to fill the gaps left in their educational progress.