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Teachers declare incapacitation as govt reopens schools

by BustopTV

By Trevor Makonyonga

Teachers unions have declared incapacitation ahead of schools reopening set for Monday September 28.

In a statement, a joint teachers union forum which includes, ARTUZ, ZIMTA, ZDTU, ZINEU, PTUZ, ZINATU, TUZ and ZRTU said they are irked because they were not consulted by government over the decision to reopen schools.

“Realising that the gvt has since announced the dates for re-opening of schools for exam classes and commencement of exams. (We are) irked that this announcement was not a product of widespread consultations and meaningful engagement with teacher unions but a ‘diktat’ by government.”

The civil servants are demanding an upward review of their salaries which they say have since been eroded by inflation and cannot cater for their basic financial needs.

“(We are) perturbed that government has totally ignored the welfare of teachers as evidenced by salaries that were received by teachers in September and (we are) aware that the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for a family of five is now above ZW$ 17 244 as given by Zimstat. (We remain) surprised by the continued salary discrepancies between teachers and the other civil servants, especially the uniformed forces.”

The teachers lobby groups gave their recommendations which should be followed if they are to return to work.

“Urgently expedite consultations with all teachers’ unions with a view to sharing ideas on the way forward before the opening of schools. This is informed by the fact that teachers’unions are a key stakeholder in the education sector and represent the very people who are implementers of gvt policies, restore the purchasing power parity of teachers’ salaries pegged at USD500 to USD550 and mplement meaningful education sector-specific allowances that commensurate with teachers responsibilities and status.”

In the statement they urged government to prioritise their welfare and provide adequate protective personal equipment in schools so as to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

“Establish an Inclusive Covid 19 Task Force to assess the level of preparedness of schools before re-opening. Ensure that schools are safe to receive the learners and teachers and their health, safety and welfare are highly prioritised. The $600 million set aside by gvt should reflect on the ground, in schools not in the media only or end in higher offices without reaching the intended beneficiaries. Currently, there is almost nothing in public schools because the school coffers are dry since there hasn’t been any collection of fees after closure in March 2020.

“Give teachers and learners enough time to cover syllabi and prepare for exams. The period of two months between 28 September 2020 and 1 December 2020 (the proposed date for commencement of exams) does not adequately compensate for the lost time of six months since schools closed.”

Meanwhile, the government has remained adamant that schools will reopen in the next two months in a phased approach.

“Phase 1 will open on September 28 (Grade 7, Forms 4 & 6)
Phase 2 will open on 26 October 2020 (Grade 6, Form 3 and 5)
Phase 3 will open on 9 November 2020 (rest of the learners which covers ECD A and B, Grade 1,2,3,4,5, Form 1 and 2),” read a tweet from the Information ministry.

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