School Bars Orphan From Writing Final Exams Because He Has No Shoes

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MWEYAMUTSVENE Mission headmaster, his wife and deputy head will be dragged before a disciplinary hearing for blocking a barefooted Form Four pupil, Belvin Chibi, from writing his final Zimsec examinations after investigations nailed the trio.

Manicaland Provincial Education director Mr Edward Shumba confirmed the development in an interview with The Herald yesterday. A report prepared by a team of investigators dispatched by Government to Bocha recently showed that the trio — Mr Abel Zebron Rubende, his wife Mrs Nyasha Rubende and the deputy headmaster Mr Gwinyai Chakwakwama had a case to answer.

Chibi is an orphan who had registered to write five subjects, but was barred by Mrs Rubende from sitting for three papers — English (Paper 1 and 2) and Commerce because he had no school shoes.

The incident attracted wide condemnation from Zimbabweans at large.

Mr Shumba said investigations were complete and the report nails Mr Rubende, Mrs Rubende and Mr Chakwakwama.

“The report indicates that it is true the headmaster’s wife blocked Chibi from writing the examination, which was not procedural. The aggravating factor is that on the day of writing English Paper 2, the headmaster was interrogating the child in his office about the incident ,which is worse as the child missed another examination in the process,” Mr Shumba said.

He said processes were already underway to bring the trio before a disciplinary hearing to answer to charges that include incompetence.

“At the moment we have instructed the District Education Officer to charge the headmaster and to instruct the head to charge this woman,” said Mr Shumba.

Asked why Mr Chakwakwama was being charged for an offence committed by the headmaster’s wife, he said: “The deputy head heard the headmaster’s wife telling the child that he was not going to write the examination. He should have stopped her. The deputy head will therefore be charged with incompetent negligence in the performance of his duty.”

“After that the senior woman (Mrs Rubende) would be charged for depriving the child the right to education by denying him the right to write the examinations. Those would be the procedures they would be charged with.”

Mr Shumba said the Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Sylvia Masango Utete will have a final say on the fate of the headmaster and his deputy once the hearing had been conducted.

“The provincial education director will make a decision over the senior teacher (Mrs Rubende) because she is junior in terms of grading,” he said.

The process is expected to take about three months. Chibi is an orphan who stays with his 65-year old grandmother, Mrs Edna Musagomba. A fortnight ago Mr Rubende signed an agreement with Chibi’s guardian offering to meet the boy’s education costs next year if he agrees to repeat.

“The school shall assist Belvin Chibi Form Four in 2016 in the following — pay for his examination fees for five subjects, pay for his tuition fees for three terms and pay for his boarding fees if enrolled with the school,” reads the agreement.

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