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    Saturday, 21 December 2019

    Chipinge urban runs out of Form 1 places


    CHIPINGE – Chipinge Urban, one of Manicaland’s fast growing towns is facing a critical shortage of Form 1 places and one of the two only secondary schools in the town has been forced to turn an A Level study room into a Form 1 class room.
    Parents continue to inundate the schools for places although they have both closed Form 1 intake for 2020.
    Chipinge District Schools Inspector (DSI) Richard Gabaza confirmed the crisis and told The Mirror in an interview that Chipinge Urban needed at least two more secondary schools in order to cope with the demand.
    He said that there were seven primary schools in the town with a total enrolment of 1 000  grade seven pupils that feed into just two high schools namely Chipinge and Gaza which can only absorb around 500 Form 1 pupils.
    Both schools are run by Chipinge Town Council.
    Parents complained that because of the crisis, they were being forced to enrol their children at Gaza High head Stanley Thondlana small private schools in the city which they complained to be of lower standards with supervision, monitoring and enforcement of discipline on the pupils lacking.
    The Mirror is informed that the two schools had conducted their entrance tests for Form 1 places well before the Zimsec Grade 7 results were out.
    Some parents also complained that they may have to look for places outside town where their children will be forced to stay with relatives. While sending children to boarding schools was another consideration, parents said this was not an option because the fees are way out of reach for the majority.
    Gaza school head Stanley Thodhlana also confirmed the situation.
    He said he has already overenrolled Form 1 pupils due to the high demand and this forced him to turn an A' level study room into a Form 1 classroom.
    This means that Gaza now has seven Form 1 classes with an enrolment of 55 pupils each which is way above 32 pupils found in a standard class.
    He said by enrolling higher numbers, he was placing a big strain on facilities at the school.
    "The result is that the pupils will overwhelm ablution facilities, discipline and library facilities," said Thodhlana.
    Gabaza said new additional secondary schools needed to be established at St Calvin and Usanga since these suburbs were growing quickly.
    "The Government policy is a 100% transition rate where pupils transit from Grade 7 to Form 1 without hassles. We can only deal with that when more schools are constructed," he added.
     He said such a development falls under two key result areas of the Ministry which are access to education and inclusive quality education.
    Gaza High which is the oldest secondary school has a total enrolment of about 1 560 students from form one to six while Chipinge has 750.
    Chipinge High only got registered as an examination centre last year and before that it was a satellite school for Gaza High together with three other peri-urban schools like Singizi, Madziwa and Chivhunze secondary schools.
    Gaza Primary, Chipinge Junior and Matione have high enrolments that are too big to be absorbed by the two secondary schools, said Gabaza.
    Gabaza said one of the stakeholders that need to be approached for the construction of more schools is the Town Council.
    Chipinge High head said Joseph Machuwaire said there is need to increase schools in Chipinge as two schools cannot accommodate all the children.
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