Government rejects private schools proposed break

Government rejects private schools proposed break

GOVERNMENT has rejected an application by Association of Trust Schools for schools under its ambit to go on exeat holiday for nearly three weeks starting yesterday.

AST executive director Mr. Tim Middleton wrote to the Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mrs. Tumisang Thabela requesting that trust schools go on exeat holiday from April 1 to 19.

In a letter dated March 30 and seen by the Chronicle, Mrs. Thabela rejected the proposed exeat holiday plan by the private schools.

“Please be advised that authority for the proposed exeat for ATS from the 1st to 19th 2021 has not been granted,” read Mrs. Thabela’s response to Mr. Middleton.

Responding to Chronicle questions, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry, communication and advocacy director Mr. Taungana Ndoro said the trust schools had argued that they needed a break since they were teaching online when the Government imposed Level Four national lockdown in January.

“They gave reasons that they had off-campus e-learning activities since January 2021 and hence needed a break.

“While we appreciate their online activities, Government expects that the announced calendar for face-to-face learning is adhered to by both Government and non-Government schools,” said Mr. Ndoro.

This is the second time Government has shot down ATS for attempting to come up with a parallel learning programme.

Last month, ATS applied to Government to have their first term end on March 31 while the second term starting on May 3, deviating from Government’s announced new calendar.

The trust schools had argued that they were conducting online lessons as schools remained closed in January to combat the spread of Covid-19.

However, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education dismissed their proposal last month and urged all schools to stick to the revised calendar.

The new calendar saw public examination classes opening on March 15 followed by non-examination classes on March 22.

The first term of the year will end on June 4 while the second term will resume on June 28 ending on September 10.

The third and final term of the year will resume on October 4 ending on December 17.

In turning down AST schools calendar, Mrs. Thabela said all schools are governed by the Education Act, and any school that deviates from the set calendar risks being censored and deregistered. – Chronicle