By Trevor Makonyonga
While primary and secondary schools across the country opened today, rural teachers have said they will rather use other public spaces for teaching and learning rather than ill equipped classrooms.
This was said by Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president, Obert Masaraure, in an interview with this publication.
Masaraure blasted the government for neglecting the education sector while spending more money on executive luxuries.
“Schools are not opening because the current conditions do not support the provision of quality public education. We have taken a stand to protect public education at a time when greedy ruling elites are diverting all wealth towards executive luxuries. The spaces we will use are public commons and ordinarily no one should make us pay for providing public education at a publicly owned space,” he said.
The ARTUZ president went onto accuse civil servants negotiating body, Apex Council for being biased and serving the interests of government.
“The Statutory instrument which created the APEX council is ultra vires to section 65 of Zimbabwe’s constitution. The body is now an illegal entity. The council was further fraudulently constituted by greedy proxies of the State running some yellow Unions.
“This body has become a vehicle for the undermining of the workers’ struggle as they are quick to jump to bed with the employer at the slightest sign of seduction,” said Masaraure.
Masaraure also said 2020 will be a year of continued resistance as his union will continue advocating for better salaries across all sectors.
“2020 is the year of resistance, we will resist both barbaric oppression and tomfoolery from those who seek to divert us. We are seized with attending to the urgent need of enhancing access to quality education to marginalised communities.
“This will be done through pushing for fair remuneration for teachers, lobbying for an education equalisation fund and advocating for a rural retention allowance. We also demand an an urgent review of the shambolic new curriculum,” he said.
He also said that they will try to establish a mean force to fight austerity.
“We are also focused on enhancing the internal capacity of the Union so that we have a mean machinery which can crush austerity and repression. Lastly we will play a role in adding our voice to global issues such as inequality, climate change and terrorism among others.” Masaraure said.
Meanwhile, school children reported for school today.
It is not yet clear if the teachers took hid to the calls by the unions to down tools as the education sector clearly continues to crumble within full sight.