With this year’s International Education Day commemorations running under the theme “Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation,” the Children Tariro initiative led by FACT Zimbabwe continues to identify ways in which learners being supported under the programme continue to be engaged in education activities despite the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education prospects worldwide as schools were prematurely closed and prompted the adoption of alternative learning practices.

Late last year with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the FACT Zimbabwe led consortium procured education materials which included textbooks and mobile devices worth USD900,000 which have been distributed and being used by learners under education support. The materials included Ventures Series Grade 1 to 7 (37836), Step Ahead Series Form 1 to 4 (33920), A- Level Sciences (5366), A-Level Arts (15757), A Level Commercials (13262) and 8319 mobile devices and network lines.

The commencement of the 2021 academic year was disrupted as a result of the surge in the COVID-19 cases reported in country which further delayed the re-opening of schools a development which called for the strengthening of virtual learning alternatives for the learners.

Currently, FACT Zimbabwe through the Children Tariro consortium in conjunction with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) is supporting the formulation and roll out of virtual home work clubs to allow topic discussions and to attend to questions from the learners. Homework club supervisors and learners are receiving airtime for data to allow them to participate in the virtual classes.

MoPSE education is also being supported to develop, record and broadcast radio lessons for the secondary curricula on national and community based radio stations. Plans are at an advanced stage to support schools with e-learning infrastructure with bandwidth and connectivity to allow learners to access virtual classes and to strengthen their research prospects.