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Learners who did not learn with Iwae

As I was navigating through the red mud field covering the pothole road, the scene in front of me was beautifully and desperately lined up. Forty-one years later, every day, wherever we went, we had a dramatically contrasting face in Zimbabwe. Independence.

The water on the left flowed out of the rock crevice, out of the upper copyie, shining in the sun, filling the stream and resurrecting vegetation. High-shoulder grass and large trees, dark bark after rainy days, clean leaves, green and shiny. The rock walls of all cracks and crevices have thick sedges of grass and sedges.

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And all the bushes of the resurrection have come back to life.

This amazing plant spends most of the year as a tough, scratched curl of brown sticks, but revives in the rain and turns into dense bushes covered with small aromatic leaves.

On the side of the road facing this scene is a small homemade wooden hut, part of the roof with tattered plastic, and a black pot flipped over a rock. Watch me go down a muddy road with two kids, barefoot and shabby, looking bored and staring. One offers chickens for sale. On the right side of the road is a small, skeletal, weakened dog, with his hair raised, staring at a tree with a giant eagle, and staring at an animal. Fear in one eye, superiority in the other, a microcosm of life in Zimbabwe today.

The children’s faces come alive in the story they desperately hear a year later without their education as they go down the muddy road.

A local father told me that his nine-year-old son had been in school for six weeks and three days in 2020, but this year was not yet one day.

Desperate for education

Desperate to educate the boy, they went to a rural school where their children were enrolled, but the principal sent them out: Covid-19 No protection provisions, no water supply. , And there was no teacher. After a few weeks back in school, they asked for books, lesson notes, whatever they were willing to try to teach boys at home. There was nothing in the school.

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Parents contacted the teacher and if there was a group of children he wanted US $ 1 per child (R14.65) in the morning. US $ 5 in the morning (R73.27) if you have only one child.

A group of children gathered in a private house, but it was not safe and there was no running water or social distance. Village leaders said this was too risky for Covid-19 and stopped it.

There was no electricity or internet connection here, so the father desperately went to the nearest town and bought only two textbooks suitable for his son’s age. The boy’s mother is now trying to teach him at home. This is the main growing season, and in most cases she is 2 times a week because she plants and cultivates fields, grooms and weeds vegetable fields, raises livestock, collects firewood, carries water and cooks. You can only manage once, one hour, or two hours.

National pass rate failure

Last week, the government announced that in December 2020, 327 559 candidates took the Grade 7 exam, with a national pass rate of only 37.11%. This is a shocking number, but it’s not surprising if you know that only a small percentage of children have access to online learning. Tutor or structured education.

A government spokesman blamed teachers for a 37% pass rate, said Robson Chere, secretary-general of the Zimbabwean Integrated Rural Teachers Union (Artuz). [R732.65 a month].. Artuz advised the government that the exam should not be conducted simply because “learners did not learn,” but no one listened to the teacher’s advice.

A glimpse of the past

With these facts in mind, I waved at the children and their chickens on the roadside, following a muddy, eroded road, and finally I was about to see the ancient sun rock paintings. Arrived at the place. In tall grass, on fallen branches, around large rocks, short scrambles to huge concave rocks, and there are pictures: giant elephants, spears, hunters with bows and arrows, aardvarks and ostriches. ..

I was overwhelmed by the excitement of this land and the image of that time and now, and returned to 2021.

Sitting in an empty breadbasket 3 meters above the ground, with a thatched roof, three children are sitting and watching. In a field near yellowed, flooded corn, two young teens pull a cart to guide a cow.

We exchange waves and my heart hurts in the years of their lost learning.

These are the magnificent heritage of Zimbabwe, the caretaker of paintings 1000 or 2000 years ago. What are their paintings today?

Cathy Buckle is a Zimbabwean writer and blogger living in Marondera, Zimbabwe.

Copyright © Cathy buckle

Learners who did not learn with Iwae

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