Schools Cannot Successfully Open Without Teachers – PTUZ

President of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Dr Takavafira Zhou, has criticized the government’s rash reopening of schools saying this will likely not open Monday as teachers will be protesting against poor salaries.

"All students will be back at school tomorrow but the availability of teachers in schools is not guaranteed.

"Fundamentally, teachers have no money to pay fees for their own children, pay for transport costs to their respective stations, and for their upkeep up to their September payday. To assume that teachers can borrow money in order to go to their respective stations whilst their own children remain confined at home is oxymoronic.

"Contrary to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s facade of lies to the effect that schools are ready to open, the five days of school opening for exam classes has shown beyond any reasonable doubt all signs of ill-preparedness in form of no running water in schools, no Covid abatement equipment in schools, no recruitment of many teachers to guarantee appropriate teacher: pupil ration, no new infrastructural development to guarantee social distance.

"As we warned, there are two schools in Manicaland where students tested positive to Covid 19, the latest being Kriste Mambo High, where 9 students tested positive out of 18 students tested on day 5 after opening. There are several reports of students exhibiting Covid 19 symptoms in schools. As such, we reiterate that the conglomeration of more than 140000 teachers, more than 5 million pupils and over 80 000 ancillary staff in schools without any testing is a time bomb that can explode with disastrous consequences.

"We reiterate that without a rescue package to enable incapacitated teachers to travel to their respective stations, there will be no teachers in schools. There is, therefore, a need to guarantee the welfare of teachers, let alone the health and safety of teachers and pupils. The incapacitation struggle of teachers will therefore continue unabated this week. The unity of teachers will guarantee its success, while fear, docility and borrowing and indebtedness of teachers will entrench their’ suffering. Teachers, therefore, have a choice either to collectively liberate themselves or entrench their immiseration, disarticulation and poverty, let alone compromise their health and safety."

Government set aside Monday the 6th of September as the reopening day for non-examination classes after a prolonged closure due to the Covid-19 lockdowns. This however was a one sided decision as teacher’s unions complained that they were ambushed and only heard of the school’s opening date on social media. Teacher’s unions had previously requested that Government first deal with their longstanding issues of poor salaries and poor working conditions before opening schools but the Government ignored their plight and unilaterally decided to open schools. Government then went on to recruit more teachers even though its failing to meet the salary demands of the existing teachers.

Categories: Updates

Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

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