It is a good thing to dream and live in the beauty of our dreams. Many a time we all go through times in our lives when we come up with ideas of things that we would like to accomplish in life; the schools and universities we want to go to, and places we cherish to be in the years ahead. It is a natural human tendency, it seems, to come up with an ideal which should be fulfilled in future and we feel bad when those dreams do not come true.
Located 75km from Masvingo town along the Masvingo-Mutare highway, Pamushana High School is one school which is living in the beauty of its dreams and, it seems, the head Johnson Madhuku still dreams big.
Madhuku has so far propelled Pamushana to greater heights with the most notable achievement being the transformation of Pamushana into the best school not only in Masvingo province but in the country at large. The 'A' and 'O' Level Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) results released recently bear testimony to the school's massive stature and repute in the realm of education.
Pamushana scored a whopping 100 percent and 94.74 percent pass rate for 'A' and 'O' Level respectively in the 2015 examinations, with 36 pupils recording 15 points and above, while 98 candidates scored 5As and above.
As if to match the leaps and bounds made in academic performance, Pamushana is also rebranding uniforms and has come up with new school colours. The school is moving away from the traditional blue uniforms to a new one, one of a kind – scorched purple and charcoal grey skirts, charcoal grey trousers, white shirts, red blazers, red jerseys and ties. The uniform indeed gives Pamushana a world class image befitting a school of its calibre.
"We are rebranding; we are synonymous with quality and we always want other schools to have something to learn from us. We are gradually changing our uniform – I brought the samples of the new uniform from Australia last year though we modified them a bit," said Madhuku.
"We are known for producing good quality results – our O' Level results were very good and there is no known record of a school which ever obtained 200 As. We have 201 As in Integrated Science out of 209 candidates, 181 As in Geography out of 209 and 109 As in Shona out of 193 candidates. We are happy with the quality of results because we do not recruit brilliant pupils only as many people think but we boast of highly qualified and experienced teachers who can mould even worst performers into brilliant stars.
"I want to thank the parents, Minister Dr (Lazarus) Dokora, Permanent Secretary Dr Slyvia Utete-Masango for their overwhelming support," Madhuku added.
At 'A' Level, the school had 36 pupils with 15 points and above, with each of the two best candidates scoring 20 points. Over 30 pupils also passed with 14 points while 120 got 10 points and better. Pamushana also has an impressive record in sports, arts and culture and it broke the schools record in the country when it got three nominees at the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) last year.
Pamushana has been dominating schools sports in the country, particularly in netball where they won the Tanganda Tea trophy for four consecutive years. The school constructed a state of the art library last year, which was described by the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora as world class, and acquired a latest Scania model bus among many other projects.
Madhuku said the main idea is to educate the whole person and, surely, any parent who dreams of providing his or her child with best education, would recommend Pamushana High.
"Our graph keeps rising; I remember once telling my staff that before I leave this school, I wanted to have at least 30 pupils with 15 points and above, but now with 36 pupils having achieved that mark, we have far exceeded our own targets. Our target now is 40 with 15 points and above this year. I think the results we are producing are out of this world and we are almost at our zenith. We can actually produce a whole class of law or medicine students for the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). Our enrolment is around 1 200 with a staff complement of 38 qualified teachers and 6 student-teachers. We are short of 10 teachers but still our results are still extremely good. We boast of highly qualified and experienced teachers. Pamushana however, has become a hunting ground for many schools especially private schools who lure our teachers with lucrative allowances to join their schools," said Madhuku.
"We are however, not deterred; our aim is to educate the whole person – complete person with academic, arts, sports and culture (ubuntu), discipline as well as upholding Christian values, and we don't believe in things that are sub-standard. We go for quality and we are not extravagant. Thus we bought a state-of-the-art bus because we want pupils to enjoy the luxury because that is what their parents want," he added.
Madhuku also plans to build a security wall at the boys' and girls' hostels this year to improve security and privacy since they are too close to the administration block. They also want to build an administration block and a state-of-the-art hall. The hall will accommodate music, arts and culture pupils as well as other school functions. Madhuku added that they have plans to build more teachers' quarters so that they can accommodate more teachers at the school.
"This has become a fishing pool for many schools and I'm losing a lot of teachers to other schools, mainly private schools. My teachers are very hard working and we also want to provide the best possible accommodation for them. We have drilled six boreholes to solve water problems and we have resuscitated our agriculture projects," he said.
Pamushana also boasts a state-of-the-art E-Learning centre which is being equipped with computers and internet connectivity. They also have an E-learning centre for junior classes equipped with 60 computers.
Pamushana also has more than 15 athletes who will represent the province at the national finals later this month. The school scooped 17 gold medals at the just ended provincial athletics finals held in Bikita.
Madhuku has not led only Pamushana to glory but has been elected to lead other organisations such as the National Association for Secondary School Heads (NASH) and the Confederation of School Sports Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) over the years.