SENIOR STAFF WRITER
TEACHERS’ unions yesterday came out guns blazing, claiming Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema is misinformed that there are adequate educators in schools preparing learners to write examinations this year.
This follows claims by Mathema on Tuesday that teachers coming to work were enough to teach examination classes. He also said all schools have received enough personal protective equipment (PPE).
“It is correct that a number of teachers are not at work. On average, about 29 percent are going to work.
“Remember only examination classes are back at school and those teachers going to work suffice for the job at hand,” the minister said.
But Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general Tapson Sibanda said Mathema was not abreast with what was going on at the schools, which opened on September 28.
“Minister Mathema is misinformed. He should get to the ground and see for himself what is taking place.
“Schools are not operational. Pupils will never be ready for these exams as long as the government remains adamant that there is no crisis in schools.
“This is a wasted year that the government should forget about,” Sibanda told the Daily News.
“Parents should be made aware that their children are not learning since the teachers are incapacitated and they shouldn’t be misled by narratives that purport to present schools as operating normally. Parents should stop sending pupils to school as there is more harm in doing so than keeping them at home. PPEs are seriously inadequate in schools.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure told the Daily News that the government must improve teachers’ salaries.
“The minister is encouraging neglect of public schools… No learning is taking place in public schools. Government officials do not care because their own children are in elite private schools.
“This attitude is fuelling inequality. The poor must unite and defend the right to education for the poor. Examinations should be deferred to 2021. The government should urgently pay US$520 salaries to teachers. PPE is being delivered in the media, our schools are still in need,” Masaraure said.
On his part, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the government must address teachers’ welfare urgently.
“We want to reiterate without apology that teachers are not going back to work without meeting our demands. There are some people who are physically at work, but they are emotionally and psychologically absent and these are dangerous characters. Ask the students …some teachers are there, but doing nothing. PPEs are not enough,” Majongwe said.