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School civvies day banned
Angeline Mpofu

School civvies day banned

IT IS the bane of every schoolgirl: what to wear on civvies day?
For years, civvies day – on which schoolchildren are allowed to hang up their uniforms and dress in civilian clothes – has been a permanent feature on most school calendars.
Schools use the day, typically once every term, to charge pupils up to $3 each to be allowed to attend classes in their civilian clothes – a clever way of raising money for cash-strapped schools.

But the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education says it is banning civvies day, insisting that it discriminates against poorer students. The ministry also accuses schools of profiteering.

“The tradition is not part of the curriculum and schools need to desist from having them frequently,” Constance Chigwamba, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education said yesterday.

“When setting school fees, the ministry considers the budget that schools require to operate viably. There’s no need to hold these occasions on the pretext of raising funds for schools.”

Chigwamba added: “Most children come from poor families and can’t afford to pay the money that has become a common fee in schools. Some of these pupils can’t even afford to have decent uniforms and other school requirements such as exercise books.

“If a school wants to host any fundraising project which has commonly become a civvies day, they need to apply to the ministry and seek approval. Otherwise what they would be doing would be deemed illegal.”

Dan Moyo, the Provincial Education Director for Bulawayo, said the civvies day tradition was adopted from the colonial era.
“It’s discriminatory because pupils without money are forced to wear uniforms or torn clothes, making them feel uncomfortable on that particular day,” he told Chronicle.

“The ministry is working on scrapping off civvies days in schools and we’ll soon issue a directive to that effect.”
Some parents said school authorities were abusing civvies day.

“Some schools are holding civvies day on a weekly basis, which has become a burden on our budget considering that there’re levies and other expenses that we still need to pay,” said Siphiwe Moyo, whose daughter is in Form 2 at a Bulawayo school.

She said children had a tendency of comparing clothes, and it becomes “emotional torture to the less-privileged ones who in some cases end up bunking lessons on civvies day.”

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