The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu and Leonard Ncube, Sunday News Reporters
HEADMASTERS will get a salary boost that will see some pocketing 25 percent more in addition to their salary depending on the number of pupils at the school, an official has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to award Gloag High School of Bubi District, Matabeleland North with the Secretary’s Bell Award for 2018, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mrs Tumisang Thabela said schools will now be organised in three tiers, with Grade 1 schools carrying over 2 000 pupils, those in Grade 2 accommodating between 800 and 1 999 learners while those classified as Grade 3 will be those that have 141 to 799 learners.
“What has happened is that schools are now classified according to their size. So, we now have what we call a Grade
One or large school which will be headed by somebody who we will call a Head One, deputised by two deputies, because it’s a mega school which attracts a second deputy head. This for 2 000 learners and more. The head will get an allowance of 25 percent of their basic salary for heading that school.
“Then the school that is in Grade Two will have between 800 and 1 999 learners. It will be headed by a Head Grade Two and a one deputy head. They will get 20 percent of their basic salary as an allowance. Then the small school, which has been 141 and 799 learners.
Those ones will get 15 percent of their basic salary. So, in this case, it is the school that is graded and not the head. The head takes the grade of the school and should they move to a lower graded school, they don’t carry their grade,” she said.
During the Secretary’s Bell Award presentation, Gloag High School was given a plaque and $1,3 million in cash prize which is meant to go towards the building of a new smart classroom.
She said schools were also on course to accomplish their syllabus requirements, with most learners now ready to sit for their final exams despite numerous disruptions during an academic year that was severely affected by Covid-19.
Zimsec examinations are scheduled to start on 22 November for O- Level candidates, while the A- Level and Grade 7 examinations will commence on 29 November.
Mrs Thabela said assessments made over the past few weeks had revealed that while catching up with the syllabus was a challenge, schools around the country were now generally ready for exams.
“We are checking with the children, their readiness for exams and generally they are excited and ready to move on with their lives. In terms of continual assessment, in all schools that we went to, they had done their first two activities and they are waiting for the last one,” she said.
With several schools in the Matabeleland region registering a zero-pass rate during last year’s exams, Mrs Thabela said the ministry had been looking at possible remedies to ensure that the same does not happen again this year.
“We go back to the Commission (Nziramasanga) into educational training. One of the commission’s key recommendations was that the syllabus or the curriculum which we were using was wrong for quite a number of reasons.
That curriculum, if you go back into our history, was meant for 20 percent of the children with 80 percent going into technical vocation. So, in this case as a country we were punishing ourselves, giving ourselves an exam meant for 20 percent of pupils to 100 percent and that’s what the inquiry revealed. We were feeding our children the wrong menu.
So, the first thing is to correct the menu and that has been done through the curriculum framework and its assessment framework.
“So, fully implementing the competency-based curriculum and fully implementing assessment as learning will make sure that we fully understand the child’s potential and that’s one solution to the problem of zero percent pass rate,” she said.Speaking on the sidelines of the Secretary’s Merit Award ceremony to Chamabondo and Mosi-oa-Tunya High School in Victoria Falls during the week, Mrs Thabela said the education sector was ready to have learners vaccinated and start of examinations.
Mrs Thabela said her ministry was waiting for Government to start the roll-out of vaccination of the 16 to 17-year age group, which largely is the school going population.
“We have just received directive that they will be rolling out vaccination for 17 to 18-year olds and that is talking to mainly our A-Level High school learner, but because it’s a pandemic, we don’t take the lead, the relevant Ministry of Health and Child Care leads.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care will tell us when they are going to proceed and we work with them under the school health policy to ensure that children are given that preventative strategy,” said Mrs Thabela
She also said Covid-19 in schools has gone down and will not disturb public examinations
“There were outbreaks at the beginning of our sessions mainly in Midlands and Manicaland but recently as at the end of last week we had gone down to about 40 cases which means we have actually arrested Covid-19 in the space,” she said.