Back to School Campaign
SOURCE : Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation (ECOZI Member)
Lower Gweru is one of the areas which recorded high school dropouts when schools opened after a long closure in the year 2020. The emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education calendar resulting in long school closures. This year, schools closed in the first week of June and school gates opened first to the examination writing classes on the 30th of August and for the rest of the classes on the 6th of September 2021. This means that learners had to spend more than 3 months at home. This further increased the divide between different social classes with vulnerable children experiencing a double impact of the pandemic.
From the 1st to the 2nd of September 2021, Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation (JHWO) joined the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE) and other partners for the Back to school campaign in Lower Gweru. The campaign was aimed at encouraging learners, parents, guardians and community leaders to ensure all learners return to school as the schools open on the 6th of September 2021. The campaign was held under the theme, “Leaving no learner behind“.
The campaign took into account diverse issues and challenges which were noted to be causing learners to drop out of school. These challenges include school fees challenges, social and cultural norms against children with disabilities, child marriages, violence against children and climate change resulting in hunger. To that effect strategic partners providing services answering the noted barriers were incorporated in the campaign as a strategy to inform communities about the available support and services.
Speaking during the campaign, the Gweru District Schools Inpsector- Mr Matutu emphasized the need for communities to work together with the MOPSE and partners to ensure all children have access to education. “It is alarming to note that there are children who are supposed to be in school but remain in communities due to various barriers which may include school fees, birth registrations, disabilities, early marriages/pregnancies and all forms of abuse. As the MOPSE, we work with different partners to ensure all these barriers are removed”, he added. The Education Inspector, Mrs Tsvaira emphasized that, “It is every child’s right to be in school! Due to COVID-19 education was derailed causing many learners to be left behind. However, to recover from this the MOPSE came up with a catch-up strategy to recover lost ground. Therefore as schools open, we implore all parents and caregivers to work with the MOPSE and its partners to ensure all learners return to school and benefit from the recovery processes”
JHWO in partnership with the MOPSE and other partners is committed to working with communities to ensure no learner is left behind. With support from USAID under CRS JHWO is providing school fees and examination support to vulnerable children through the DREAMS and Pathway projects. Every learner has the right to access education even those who would like to return to school.