Teachers' Unions Welcome New Minister

Teachers’ Unions Welcome New Minister

Teachers’ Unions Welcome New Minister

Teacher’s unions have welcomed the newly appointed Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and expressed hope that the minister will change the education sector for the better.

On Wednesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa replaced Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema from his Cabinet with Evelyn Ndlovu, who was Minister of State in Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s office, retaining Mathema as a Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the President. Mathema has been battling COVID-19-related complications after being infected while touring schools to assess the safety of reopening schools.

His reign as the Primary and Secondary Education minister was tainted by constant fights with teachers’ unions over poor salaries and poor working conditions.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said teachers hoped that the new Education minister would "not walk along the destructive commandist path that Mathema was navigating."

"There are serious challenges facing the ministry, chief among them the starvation wages of teachers and escalating COVID-19 cases at schools as well as low morale."

He also said he hoped the new minister would, unlike Mathema, put education stakeholders first in matters that concern education.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZimTA) acting national general-secretary Goodwill Taderera said teachers hoped that Mnangagwa replaced Mathema with the goal to improve the education sector.

"The outgoing Mathema had not done anything significant for teachers. We will wait and see, although we think there are many other renowned people in the education sector who would have taken up such posts," he said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union president Obert Masaraure chipped:

"The main issue is about the policy direction that Ndlovu will take, and we hope she has listening skills," he said.

Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union national co-ordinator Wonder Nyapokoto said the educators expected Ndlovu to adopt an open-door policy and to appreciate the challenges being faced by teachers, which include incapacitation, challengers over syllabus coverage and examinations, infrastructural inadequacies and the COVID-19 monster in schools.

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