TWENTY-THREE pupils at Amhlophe High School in Bulawayo yesterday fell into a hysteria, prompting the school to suspend lessons and Government to commit to providing counselling services to the learners.
Most of the pupils who were affected are in Form Three while one of them is in Form One.
The incident occurred just after 8AM at the school located in Pumula East.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro said:
“I can confirm that 23 of our learners fell into a hysteria at Amhlophe High School in Bulawayo.
We contacted parents of the affected learners to come and take them home.
Most of the learners were in Form Three while one of them was in Form One.
The incident temporarily disrupted learning but everything later returned to normal.”
He said it was not the first time that such an incident has occurred at a school in the country but the ministry has not yet established what could be causing it.
Mr Ndoro said Government will provide counselling services to Amhlophe High School pupils next week.
“On Monday our ministry teams will provide psychosocial support to the learners.
We can only provide scientific support to the learners and we don’t have an opinion on what could have happened.
Remember the Witchcraft Suppression Act is still in existence so we cannot have an opinion on this except providing scientific evidence,” said Mr Ndoro.
When a Chronicle news crew visited the school yesterday, some parents and pupils were milling outside seeking answers over what had transpired.
It is said the pupils were seen acting in a disorderly manner as some of them were exiting classrooms through the windows.
Authorities at the school are said to have initially assumed that the pupils were fighting only to realise that that was not the case.
Some of the learners were seen shaking while groaning seemingly in pain at the school’s administration block.
Others had to be supported by parents and guardians as they struggled to walk on their own.
The incident saw Bulawayo acting Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Sibanda and his team visiting the school to assess the situation on the ground.
At the entrance of the school’s premises concerned parents and guardians had engaged a self-proclaimed prophet.
A parent, Mr Busani Nkomo said the incident was worrisome.
“We just saw the pupils becoming chaotic and initially we thought they were fighting.
But the situation became intense as some of them started falling down and groaning. It didn’t make sense and that is when residents started gathering at the school’s entrance.
I’m also told that this is not the first time for this to happen, just that today it became intense,” said Mr Nkomo. – Chronicle