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Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent

TEACHERS have urged Government to ensure that the recommended teacher-pupil ratios are adhered to as most schools were operating way above the set benchmarks.The teachers said the obtaining situation was adversely affecting the perfomance of learners.

Speaking during a Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education continuous assessment framework stakeholder consultative meeting held in Gwanda last Friday, the teachers said Government had set ideal teacher-pupil ratios but they were not being adhered to.

According to the Ministry policy, the teacher-pupil ratio for primary school is 1:40 and at secondary school it is 1:35 from Form One to Form Four and 1:25 for Advanced Level classes.Schools are forced to enrol learners beyond their carrying capacity due to a shortage of schools and teaching staff. Some secondary school classes have more than 50 learners.

A teacher from a local primary school who preferred not to be named told the meeting that at her school some classes had 65 or more learners.The teacher said it was difficult to produce quality results when classes are too big making it impossible to concentrate on each and every pupil.

“The standard ratio for primary level is 1:40 but at my school there are classes with more that 60 pupils. Sometimes we end up compressing two classes into one because of shortage of teachers and learning space which is experienced mostly in rural schools,” said the teacher.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is targeting to reintroduce continuous assessment for public examination classes at the beginning of the second term in May.

The Ministry is in consultation with education stakeholders on how the process should be implemented. Under the model Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced Level pupils will be graded on the basis of combined marks for continuous assessment and final examinations in keeping with provisions of the updated education curriculum.

Addressing the same meeting, ZIMSEC research manager, Mr Talent Kupfumira said continuous assessment will be done for all the subjects.

— @DubeMatutu