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Govt pushes for June exams

Tarisai Machakaire
THE government is pushing for opening of schools for the June examinations, arguing that it is prepared to implement measures to fight the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), the Daily News reports.
This comes as eight teacher unions represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ Sarudzayi Njerere last week filed an urgent chamber application for the exams to be suspended until the government met safety measures to protect both learners and teachers.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Democratic Teachers Union, Zimbabwe National Educators Union, Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union, Zimbabwe Teachers Association and Zimbabwe National Teachers Union filed the application in the High Court.
In their notice of opposition, Education ministry permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela said the government had the capacity to ensure all safety measures are met before schools opened.
“The government will provide all the personal protective equipment and all procedures and recommendations of the World Health Organisation will be in place before the commencement of examinations on June 30,” Thabela said.
Thabela argued that conducting public examinations in schools, colleges and tertiary institutions fell in the confines of essential services, adding that the ministry had started radio lessons to ensure candidates are adequately prepared.
They argued that all educational institutions used as quarantine centres would be disinfected and safeguard measures put in place for all students in boarding schools.
“All precautionary measures will be taken at school level to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and all invigilators are expected to report for duty. Special transport arrangements will also be made for day scholars and invigilators to and from examination centres.”
In an affidavit, Artuz president Obert Masaraure argued that after the lockdown started learners, including those in government schools shifted to online learning but were not adequately provided with requirements to facilitate the lessons.
Masaraure submitted that all learners enrolled at government schools, including those who are due to sit for examinations in June and November have not been receiving teaching instruction since March 24 when the first term was closed.
He said the government had not provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to both teachers and learners.

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