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THE Roman Catholic Diocese of Masvingo has closed Mukaro High School in Gutu with immediate effect in protest against the continued presence of two teachers accused of having masterminded pupils’ protests in 2012.
The girls only boarding school has an enrolment of more than 700 pupils.
Pupils were yesterday caught unaware by the action and were ferried home by buses, some from Catholic schools in Masvingo.
In a statement, the Education Secretary of the Catholic Diocese of Masvingo, Father Raphael Zindova, said the school has encountered challenges since 2012 and the situation remains tense due to the two “stubborn teachers.”
Zindova did not name the two teachers, but four years ago Martin Matenhere and Musana Chirikure were suspended for allegedly inciting pupils to strike but they appealed to the High Court and won their case.
The High Court ordered the school to lift the suspensions and interdicted the institution from transfering them.
The teachers have been reporting for duty but the relationship between them and their employer is said to have irretrievably broken down.
“Mukaro High School has encountered challenges since 2012. The situation has continued to be untenable, tense and disruptive due to the two stubborn teachers at the school. The responsible authority has been co-acted to close the school with immediate effect. Any query should be directed to Mr Zedius Chitiga, the Provincial Education Director of Masvingo Province,” reads the statement.
Chitiga was said to be out of office and his mobile phone rang unanswered yesterday.
His deputy Andrew Chikwange said they were still trying to ascertain the reasons for the school’s closure.
“Mukaro High School has been closed but we’re yet to establish the goings-on at the school. We’re currently seized with the matter. I hope we’ll have a position when my boss, Chitiga is in the office,” said Chikwange.
Sources said church authorities led by the Vicar General, Father Walter Nyatsanza, went to the institution yesterday morning and announced that the school was closing.
They allegedly cited the continued presence of Matenhere and Chirikure as the reason for the closure.
Parents with children at Mukaro High who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday expressed outrage at the decision to close the boarding school over the stand-off with two teachers.
The parents said it was shocking that their children were ordered to return home from school yet they had paid full fees.
They said the fight by the school authorities was not supposed to infringe on their childrens learning activities.
Problems at Mukaro have been brewing up since July 2012 when over 700 girls staged a protest and walked on foot to Mpandawana Growth point to meet ministry of Education authorities over a plethora of grievances.
The students were unhappy with the quality of food served at the school that was also chronically beset by water problems as three boreholes that supplied the institution were overwhelmed. Walter Mswazie . source-chronicle