An association of educators, Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), has revealed plans to block the opening of schools on 28 July and writing of June examinations, stating that the government is still to announce a budget for safe opening of schools.
Teachers say the country’s executive has not put in place measures to open schools, disputing government’s decision of candidates to sit for examinations this month.
ARTUZ says, “We are seeking an interdict from the courts to block both the writing of June examinations and opening of schools on 28 July.”
The association recommended the government to desist from an impulse opening of schools without ensuring that it is very safe to do so.
The rural teachers also recommended the government to ensure that the Coronavirus epidemic is totally under control before taking the steps of the opening of schools.
“Ensure the verifiable fumigation of all schools before they open as well as at regular intervals thereafter. Schools that are currently used as quarantine zones should go through rigorous fumigation and confirmed safe by competent personnel in the Ministry of Health and Childcare,” the association says.
“Capacitate teachers in identifying and handling COVID-19 in case of infections or reinfections in schools.”
“Stop the use of teaching and learning facilities for political gatherings or any unnecessary congregations in order to minimize the risk of infection of teachers, ancillary staff and learners,’ ARTUZ recommended.
Besides safety concerns, ARTUZ, regarding educators as frontline workers in the education system, also recommended the government to pay an acceptable risk allowance to teachers as in essence.
“We are also mobilising for massive street protests by teachers and parents demanding salary review for teachers.”
“Pay teachers salaries that resonate with their 2018 salaries of US$520 or its inter-bank rate equivalent in order to restore salaries’ purchasing power parity that has been eroded by conversion to local currency, together with the attendant inflation.”