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Child labour on the rise in Zimbabwe amid covid-19 schools closure

Child labour is on the rise in Zimbabwe as children in rural areas have been turned to field workers and herd boys during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, as schools remain closed awaiting communication from government on the way forward.

These sentiments were echoed by Annastacia Moyo, representing the education sector, as she shared her views on the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s education sector.

“In rural areas there are major challenges which have come about as a result of that children are still at home and not going to school. Children have now become workers as they spend all their time herding cattle and working in the fields as it is harvesting time.

Talks of the introduction of  online learning is however not a favourable option because it will not work for children in remote areas because there is no internet connectivity and no electricity,” said Moyo.

Moyo expressed her concern over the demand for fees by private schools citing that this was inappropriate and would siphon parents of the little that they have.

“Some private schools have requested for term two fees and parents should not pay this money because schools have not officially opened. During this time, parents should await communication from government and instil discipline of revising so that children do not become rusty as they wait for the opening of schools for the second term,” said Moyo.

Speaking during the same programme, a representative from the Baobab Centre for Learning, Dr Themba Nyoni said COVID-19 is a new phenomenon and no one was ready for it, urging government to consider the use of radio to promote learning and keep children engaged.

“During such a time, government should use radio to educate children. Some schools have introduced online learning and this automatically means parents have become teachers and are helping their children yet they are not trained teachers and this is affecting learners who are being told answers but are not being told how to get to that answer” said Nyoni.

Nyoni said children who are dyslexic are experiencing more challenges at this time and because of this, Baobab is looking to use a virtual platform for learners with learning difficulties through uploading visual learning material which will be available for all children.

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