|Tsiga Secondary School|
A science teacher at Tsiga Secondary in Zaka has been warned by his school head after he reportedly conducted several classes in contravention of the national lockdown order which was pronounced to help fight the spread of coronavirus.
Parents in surrounding villages complained that they were left with no choice but to let their children attend the classes after being informed some pupils were moving forward with learning.
They claimed that Watson Chikati, who teaches ‘O’ level science subjects, conducted many classes with some children at his house in the teachers cottage to avoid detection by authorities.
“When I learnt that some children were making progress with their teacher, I was very worried that my own child was being left behind. I was apprehensive at first knowing the dangers of people gathering at a place but I had no choice but to let him join others,” said the parent on condition his family name is protected.
Others said Chikati was a hard worker but had made a mistake by violating lockdown restrictions to conduct classes clandestinely.
“We know him. He is passionate about his job and wants nothing but the best for his pupils but that was a mistake on his part. I am glad that he has now been stopped,” said the parent.
When contacted for comment, Chikati denied the allegations, saying they were formulated by people with their own malicious motives.
“I did not conduct any classes as being alleged by those people. I only had a discussion with two children who had come to collect some past exam papers for revision. One is a child to a fellow teacher, so to claim that I gathered pupils for classes is not correct,” said Chikati.
However, Tsiga Secondary School head John Museba admitted that Chikati had indeed conducted some classes but had now been warned to stop.
“I have been in Masvingo town for some time and had not learnt about it. I however carried out some investigations and found that he had been conducting some lessons with pupils. I have ordered him to stop and I have also sent the School Development Committee (SDC) chairperson to go and have a word with him,” said Museba.
Schools have been shut since the end of March but government now plans a phased reopening starting next month (July) though teachers’ unions are vehemently opposed to the move.