Government urged to bail out schools
TEACHERS’ unions have urged the government to give schools bailouts for them to pay ancillary staff.
This comes after the government deferred the opening of schools — which was initially scheduled for July 28 — due to rising cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) which now stand at 2 512.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure said the government must help schools before they collapse.
“Public schools should receive bailouts to enhance their capacity for both online and offline remote learning.
“The funds will also enable them to pay non-teaching staff whose salaries are ordinarily paid from SDC funds.
“Private schools may be loaned funds if they are facing viability challenges. Such loans should be flexible to allow them to pay back when normalcy is restored,” Masaraure said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said most schools are finding it difficult to survive.
“We said that a long time ago. Schools can’t function without money,” Majongwe said.
Majongwe’s sentiments were buttressed by PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou who said schools must be given money to pay staffers only.
“There is, however, a need for government to allocate funds to schools for infrastructural development, purchase of furniture and Covid-19 abatement equipment in preparation for opening of schools late this year or next year,” Zhou said.
“The only reasonable bailout from government could be for school workers given that schools have not been generating money since they closed in March.
“Anything else has no justification whatsoever. What we know is schools were trigger happy, borrowing money for making masks. That is totally a government responsibility.
“Above all, Unicef donated funds towards Covid-19 abatement and that should certainly get to schools than end in government offices.
“There are some misguided heads who borrowed money to produce masks hoping to cash in from students when schools were supposed to re-open.
“These do not need any bailout. There are also schools where people from outside the school are using electricity, water and Internet and are not paying anything.
“Some have been using schools for workshops etc. These do not need any bailout,” Zhou said.