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    Saturday, 17 December 2016

    Gokomere Primary head Baye calls it a day after 41 years



    • All errands were done by his deputy unlike other school heads


    TAWANDA HOMBA

    MASVINGO – It indeed was a great accomplishment, staying on top almost all his teaching life and leaving after smashing all academic records in the Province.
    Gokomere Central Primary School head, Bernard Baye Makonese has retired and it is after 41 years in the classroom.
    He smashed all academic records for Masvingo Province and threw a farewell party on Saturday last week, just two days after he stretched the Grade 7 results record to 46 pupils (2016) with four units each.
    In 2015, Baye was again head and shoulders above the rest; he set the record at 40 pupils with four units each.
    Baye undoubtedly felt an aura of achievement as a rainbow of guests, the Bishop of Masvingo Diocese Michael Dixon Bhasera, Retired Gweru Diocese Bishop Martin Munyanyi, decorated soldier, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, Provincial Education Director, Zedias Chitiga, Former Gokomere High head, Sylvester Tererai, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Davis Marapira, Professor Raphinos Chabaya of the Zimbabwe Open University, Ambassador Gabriel Machinga, Dr Ambassador Sylvester Maunganidze and several school heads graced his farewell party.
    But that was not it.
    Baye who headed the Roman Catholic Church's most famous school gives all glory for his successes to God. He taught and trained his pupils Christian values and standards first and foremost as speakers at the farewell party would testify.
    Apart from academic records, Baye had many firsts. His was the first primary school to have a school truck, a 76-seater bus and enrolment increased from 400 to 750 pupils during his tenure.
    Moved by the achievements, Marapira donated four beasts to Baye as a farewell gift. Many other gifts were not disclosed to the public but Bishop Bhasera gave Baye a rosary that came from Rome.
    Bishop Bhasera described Baye as a humble man who was dedicated to his work. Baye was the first person to come to work and the last person to leave the school, said Bishop Bhasera.
    Bishop Bhasera said all errands at the school were done by Baye's deputy and other members of staff and this was unlike other school heads who are always in town doing shopping for schools.
    "Baye was always at the school. All errands were carried out by his deputy and other members of staff. Hamaisamuona mutown achitenga macabbage nebeans neupfu zvevana. Izvi zvaiitwa nadeputy wavo huye zvinoratidza discipline hombe (You never saw him in town buying cabbages and beans for pupils. He left this to his deputy as he concentrated on his administration work. 
    "Kugara pachikoro nekusafamba famba, displine," said Bishop Bhasera.
    Baye began teaching in January 1976 at Masarira Primary School in Bikita. He joined Gokomere C.P.S on January 1, 1978 and was appointed acting head on January 1, 1985 after taking over from Sr Magombedze.
    He became substantive head in 1988. He spent 39 years at Gokomere and 31 of those as the head. In 1985 Gokomere had nine teachers only and 400 pupils. Today the school has 25 teachers and 760                                                                             
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    children.
    The school has for many years attained 90% pass-rate at grade 7, making it the best primary school in the province.
    "Baye constructed ECD A and B classrooms, an administration block 10 teachers' houses, Grade 6 and 7 boys' hostels and recently a state-of-the art grade seven girls hostel.
    ''In 1993, Baye purchased a Toyota Hilux nicknamed Stamus and this became the first primary school to buy a truck and he bought 65-seate bus in 2006. In 2015 he bought a 70-seater Scania Bus, the first of its kind in the province,'' said Chitiga.
    Gokomere is also a sporting powerhouse with its pupils participating in an array of sports at provincial and national level.
    Professor Chabaya described Baye as a man of integrity and a great educationist.
    Gokomere deputy head Christopher Muruvi said they were both with Baye as students at Gokomere High School, they both trained as teachers at Bondolfi Teachers' College and they later both became grade 6 and 7 teachers before they became head and deputy respectively. 
    "He demonstrated to pupils the need for prayer by going for mass almost every morning. No wonder why our children are disciplined and morally upright, '' said Muruvi.
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