We Can Use "Anyone" To Invigilate Examinations If Teachers Boycott Says Zim Govt
The Zimbabwean government on Sunday accused teachers destroying the education system by refusing to invigilate the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) "O" and "A" Level national examinations for free.
The teachers previously approached Zimsec requesting to be payed invigilation fees per contract basis. Zimsec refused the request on the basis that teachers are employed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and should be paid there. The PSC denied the responsibility of paying the teachers invigilation fees. The teachers then resolved to boycott the invigilation of the exams.
The Zimsec national examinations are set to start today, Monday, 22 November 2021, but the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), the Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (ZINATU) and the Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) have declared that their members would not invigilate if the government was not going to pay them for the invigilation services.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro on Friday told NewsDay that if teachers withdraw their services, the government will use “anyone” to invigilate the examinations.
"Invigilation and teaching in class are two separate issues. Invigilation can be conducted by anyone."
On Sunday, Ndoro said while teaching was a noble profession, some teachers’ unions were no longer concerned about the education of learners but bent on distroying the education system.
Ndoro also claimed that there were many teachers that were not affiliated to unions, who could supervise the examinations for free.
"All Zimbabweans understand that teaching is a noble profession and that our teachers, despite whatever union they represent, are selfless and always ready to go to any extent to help their learners. It gives them a great feeling of self-satisfaction when they see their learners achieve in life.
"However, in today’s world, the word ‘noble’ is misused by the likes of leaders of ARTUZ, ZINATU and the one-man-band EUZ. As for the second-largest teachers union in Zimbabwe, PTUZ, we respect that their teachers stretch themselves to help their learners without unreasonable expectations.
"They remain noble together with a host of non-unionised teachers that we are confident will invigilate exams with no immediate extra benefits because they are doing a noble profession.
"We value all teachers who will not boycott invigilation as they are cognisant that their reward for the service is the happiness and satisfaction they will derive in being recognised by their learners even years after they benefited from their teaching and invigilation. These two aspects — delight and recognition — are possible only if teachers are committed to their profession at a level that is beyond the influence of remuneration."
In response, the unions accused the government of using divide and rule tactics to dissuade teachers from fighting for a common cause.
EUZ secretary-general Tapedza Zhou responded that EUZ members are not "anyone" who can provide invigilation services for free adding that teachers have made up their mind about not invigilating for free.
"The (Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education) can go ahead and contract ‘anyone’, who will provide invigilation services for free. Fortunately, our professional teachers are not ‘anyone’, hence are determined to avoid providing a professional service to an external entity that does not pay them. Most of them will be relieved that MoPSE [Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education] is now engaging a guy called ‘anyone’ who will invigilate all examinations across the country. ‘Anyone’ will invigilate examinations while our professional teachers will not. Teachers have already made up their mind."
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the government’s failure to address the concerns of teachers was compromising the quality and standards of education.
"That examinations could be invigilated by anyone is the highest contempt for teachers and their value that has ever been subjected to them,” he said.
Last year, government resorted to using school ancillary staff and villagers to invigilate after teachers refused to supervise the examinations citing poor working conditions and non-payment for the service.
"The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is no longer concerned about the quality of services they are providing. It has ceased to care about the situation in the education system. It is my view that the authorities are sabotaging the current government," said Artuz president Obert Masaraure.