Rhodesia, the guerrilla bush war has been forcing schools to shut down. According to recent?
Rhodesia, the guerrilla bush war has been forcing schools to shut down. According to recent government figures the number of schools closed rose to 1,119 this month. The latest affected was a Catholic mission school near Gwelo in the centre of the country, once attended by 800 African children, including nearly 200 who are deaf. Meanwhile, the Rhodesian authorities are distributing 100,000 pamphlets to black parents stressing the importance of education, in the hope they can persuade the guerrillas to leave the schools alone.
SYNOPSIS: This is another mission school, in the north of Rhodesia. For the children in Form Three of the Marion Mission School, it was the last day of the term.
Although the children are probably too young to be aware of it, the future of the school, and others like it, are in doubt.
Will they be back in class after the Christmas holiday or will the school shut down because of the guerrilla war? As the fighting goes on, hardly a day now goes by without the closure of another school, by guerrillas who want to topple the Rhodesian government.
The government says a quarter of the country's black school children, about 250,000 have had to give up their education.and claim guerrillas have killed 82 teachers. Six thousand others are out of work. In this school the children use telephones made of old shoe-polish tins and bicycle bells for their lesson.
Their teacher is faces with an over-crowded class and a shortage of books and equipment. It is not the only problem teachers have to face. There have been claims that some teachers are forced to hand over part of their wages to guerrillas.
Despite all the problems the transitional Rhodesian government is going ahead with a bill, designed to end racial discrimination in schools, as well as in a number of other areas. There are bout 60,000 non-African children in the country, along with about 885,000 African children.
Even for white schoolchildren, the war has brought about a difference. These children from Bulawayo returning to school this August, went in convoy, with a heavily armed guard travelling with them. The days when the journey back to school was a casual bus ride are long since past. The six-year-old guerrilla war is increasingly changing the way of life of Rhodesians, black and white, adult and children.