…school head Maregere sets school for new challenges
With a rising pass rate and an expanding school infrastructure system, Francis Aphiri primary looks set to become an institution occupying a place of its own in a sector characterised by increased competitiveness.
Owned by Masvingo City Council and named after one of the most revered policy makers to ever lead the city, the late Mayor Francis Aphiri, the school has been on an upward trajectory in its relatively short history.
Under the leadership of school head Henry Maregere, the school now boasts an enrollment of 1 200 pupils mostly from the adjacent Runyararo West suburb as well from other surrounding residential areas like Victoria Ranch and Mucheke D.
Having been developed as a response to the ever-growing need for more educational facilities in the sprawling city, Francis Aphiri Primary School has rapidly grown to be a school of choice for many people in the city.
Since taking over as school head, Maregere has presided over a steady rise in the grade seven examinations pass rate from 91.27 in 2016 to 95 percent for 2019. Maregere says his wish is to record an improved pass rate after each examination period, with greater focus being on the quality of results.
The school has also made formidable strides in improving its facilities; having completed the construction of a new classroom block which is being used by grade ones and yet another one which is currently being used by grade sevens although it was initially designed as an industrial block for pupils studying woodwork and home economics.
Francis Aphiri is also finalizing plans to build an ‘infant centre away from the school’, and one classroom block is already up.
Maregere says experience points to the importance of isolating ECD, grade one and grade two pupils from the rest of the classes.
“The infant department will help the youngest of our children to be free and to be themselves. Those are the children who are at the lowest formative years of their development so they need to be given room to live and learn without being subjected to the same kind of control that should otherwise be reserved for older children. The younger children want to be happy, they want to make noise and you can’t expect them to be as much responsive to instruction as their older counterparts do,” said Maregere.
He said facilities in the envisaged infant department will also house teachers offices as well as any other infrastructure required for early childhood academic development.
The school has a thriving poultry project which recently contributed a substantial amount of money to the coffers after the sale of 250 birds.
“We also have plans to start a rabbit and fisheries project. We have already built the ponds for the fish and we are building a permanent foul run to replace the cages that we are currently using. The idea is to establish separate income streams that complement the developmental work being done using school fees,” said Maregere.
He said many of the plans were being delayed by inadequate water supplies at the school.
“We have a borehole here but it doesn’t yield much water. I am pleased therefore that a new borehole will soon be drilled and most of the water will be used for those agricultural projects,” said Maregere.
Since becoming Francis Aphiri Primary School head, Maregere, who previously headed Victoria Jnr and Makoho Primary schools, has overseen a number of new projects including the construction of a perimeter fence around the school and the paving of the front yard.
Three classroom blocks have also been constructed and plans are that more learning space should be created in order to decongest the classrooms and allow more pupils to be enrolled.