GWERU – The Progressive Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has equated announcement of school’s opening to an act of terror.
In a statement in possession of CommuTalk, PTUZ President Dr Takavafira Zhou has said the government decision is even against submission by teachers unions towards schools opening.
Government has since set 28 July 2020 as schools opening date while June examinations have also been confirmed. Tertiary institutions across the country have since started receiving final year students.
“Government move does not resonate with submissions made by teacher unions to the Ministries of Education, Public Service, Social Welfare as well as to the parliamentary portfolio committee on education, that latter on amplified the ill-preparedness of schools to write exams, let alone open.
“What is worrisome is that government has no capacity to procure, let alone deliver testing kits, thermometers, sanitisers, protective clothing to schools. Government has also done nothing towards infrastructure development and to fill the gap of 50 000 teachers needed to ensure social distancing towards a 1:20 teacher-pupil ratio,” Dr Zhou wrote.
This comes at a time teachers had vowed that, ‘…no safety and welfare considerations, no opening of schools.’
Records presented by teachers unions show that if government is to open schools, they are looking towards catering for 10 000 schools, 4.6 million learners, 136 000 teachers and 50 000 ancillary staff.
Teachers have also been lamenting the lowered standards of living with some expressing challenges to reach places of work due to shortage of transport money.
ZimStats recently said that a family today needs RTGS7 000 plus to be above the poverty datum line, a figure which is way above a teacher’s salary in Zimbabwe.
Government in memo has however written provincial heads to submit number of schools to facilitate for availability of ‘masks, liquid soap and santisers by 29 June 2020.’
In a related case, South Africa faced resistance upon announcement to open schools with social media awash with messages that it was better to experiment preparedness of operating public places with opening of bars than putting pupils at risk.