Work hard in silence and let all the hard work do the talking, so goes the adage. This best describes Masvingo’s Pamushana High School.
The Reformed Church of Zimbabwe-run institution, buried at the heart of Bikita East where most would turn a blind eye on issues of academic and sporting excellence, the school bristles with uncelebrated pride.
Rewind to last year when the country’s senior netball team made a name for themselves at their maiden appearance at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool where they finished eighth.
Seven of the of the 12 players in the team that went to Liverpool – retired goal shooter Pauline Jani, international based shooter Joice Takaidza, Sharon Bwanali, Patricia Malaudi, Tanaka Makusha, Mercy Mukwadi and Claris Kwaramba – are former students and players at Pamushana High School.
Under the local Rainbow Amateur Netball League, Nomagugu Makhalima, Progress Moyo, Paidamoyo Tinoza among others also emerged from the school while other sports codes also have stars from the institution.
Currently the school, are the netball Stella Tea Trophy and Quiz Book of African Records defending champions.
And apart from producing sports stars, the school is among the top 10 best performing academic institution in the country.
In 2018, the school recorded 97, 7 and 94, 8 percent pass rates in “A” and “O” levels respectively. Last year the school attained the best Zimsec “A” level results in Masvingo with 79 of their 140 students scoring 15 points.
Some 118 of 140 students passed with at least 2 points, translating to 98 percent.
Youth Interactions sought to find the secret behind the school’s success.
The school Head, Mr Raymond Ndega, says the school has a long standing culture that strikes a balance between sports and academics. Although he joined the school in 2018, he adjusted to the school culture that he says was established by his predecessors as they transformed the school into a powerhouse.
On the academic front, the school has compulsory supervised evening studies from 6pm to 10 pm and weekend classes for both examination and non-examination classes.
“I joined the school not long ago and it is a blessing to be at a school that has such a reputation which gives me a great task of having to uphold it,” he says.
“Pamushana has a culture that strives to create a balance between academics, discipline and sport.
“The normal evening study time used to be 6pm to 8pm but upon realisation that there is need to help our pupils further, teachers proposed extended times.
“They do it whole heartedly, set targets for themselves and even the students love it.”
The school also developed professional teacher-student relations that enable students to open up when they have problems and get proper help from their respective tutors.
These relations have also paved the way for high levels of discipline anchored on the school’s Christian principles.
“We cannot follow-up on every pupil everyday so as schools we need to create an environment which gives them the zeal to love what they do and the drive to be passionate about their classes,” he said.
Sports Director, John Tumbare, says the school has an active grassroots programme that currently has 34 juniors (Form Is and IIs across disciplines) on sports scholarships.
They also have 14 seniors (Form V and VI) who gained automatic entry to the school. Automatic entry is usually on demand.
“We have a bright sporting future across disciplines and we make sure that yearly we scout raw and young potential to feed into our grassroots,” he says.
“That way, we groom them in our own way and from the stars we have produced; they are excelling with most of them making it onto national teams.
“Sports times do not interfere with studies and we ensure that the coaches, who are also teachers here, follow up on academic performances of their players and assist in the best way possible.
“Simply give a player an ultimatum to say we pull you off scholarship or you cannot play if your grades are not good. Sometimes we need that tough hand.”
Ahead of schools opening for examination classes, the school is set to add more study hours to enable their students to catch up before examinations.