Lwazi Sibanda, Joyce Mathwasa


The purpose of the study was to examine the perceptions of teachers and learners on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on rural secondary school female learners in Matobo District. The study was qualitative in nature, entrenched on interpretivist paradigm and adopted a case study design. Data was collected using open-ended questionnaire and online focus group discussions from six teachers and eighteen learners who formed three focus group discussions. The participants were purposively sampled from three schools. The study found that a few teachers were able to conduct online lessons using WhatsApp platform during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the selected schools though there was no consistence as teaching was not programmed and participation of female learners was low. The findings revealed that most of the parents could not afford to provide online learning resources for their children because of economic hardships. The study further established that rural female learners were at risk during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown as some of them were exposed to sexual abuse when they try to have access to smartphones and data bundles from some male adults. It was found that female learners have lost much of their learning time whilst on lockdown and many cases of pregnancy have emerged leading to dropping out of school. The study concluded that most of the rural secondary school female learners were excluded from education during lockdown due to poverty, unavailability of network or poor network coverage, lack of broadcast transmission services to enable them to access online lessons through the radio, lack of electricity, poor attendance due to lack of smartphones and data bundles, performance of all household chores including herding of cattle and lack of cooperation from some parents. The study recommended that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should collaborate with stakeholders to provide necessary resources to enable all learners to access online learning despite geographical location.

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COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, rural secondary schools, online learning, female learners

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