Story by Tamuka Charakupa
More than 30 rural schools in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts are benefitting from a community-led learning initiative introduced and implemented by the government through a local development partner.
The programme dubbed ‘Community Learning Clubs’ being implemented through Terres de Homes (TDH) has been welcomed by the local community as an innovative platform for bridging learning gaps between rural and urban areas.
“We are very happy with this programme because it is aiding our children with learning while in their communities. This has helped our communities particularly on reducing teenage pregnancies because it has kept our children busy,” said one of the community members.
“Learning in their comfort zone is an advantage for our children because they are free to express their opinions, ask questions and interact free unlike in the class where some are shy and afraid to face their teachers,” added another.
“As a facilitator this is an exchange programme because we are learning from our students, and they are also learning from them,” noted a facilitator.
Chimanimani Schools Inspector Mrs Alice Muyocha and Chayamiti Primary School head Mr Isaiah Chuma are equally convinced that the initiative will achieve the set objectives.
“This is an initiative that we welcome as a district given the fact that we are at the receiving end of recurring disasters that always affect our learning. This intervention will help to bridge the learning gap between our rural schools against urban schools where pupils are exposed to various advanced learning platforms,” said Muyocha.
Chayamiti Primary School head, Mr Isaiah Chuma added, “Following these various interventions by government and development partners our pass rates have improved from 45 percent to 48 percent. We are projecting to increase the performance to at least above 70 percent. Our classroom block was renovated and is housing an average of 40 pupils per class.”
TDH Education Officer Ms Lindy Ndoda disclosed that the programme is running in 34 schools across Chipinge and Chimanimani districts.
“This programme is ensuring inclusivity because we are targeting in and out of school children and the disabled who might find it difficult to attend classes physically,” said Ndoda.
“The community learning club facilitators are drawn from host communities being individuals with teaching experiences. They work hand in hand with teachers within those communities so there is no conflict but a complementary effort,” she added.
The Second Republic is on a drive to introduce e-learning in rural schools as part of efforts to achieve a digital economy under the National Development Strategy One.