Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has hit back at some teachers’ unions for blaming poor infrastructure for the poor 2020 Grade 7 results at some schools.
A total of 88 schools, mostly in rural Matabeleland recorded a 0% pass rate, prompting the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), to criticise the government for abandoning rural schools.
The unions posted pictures of classroom blocks made of poll and dagga located in some remote parts of the country saying pupils could not produce good results within such an environment.
In response, Charamba branded ARTUZ and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) “criminals” and their members “desultory”. He said:
One lie which errant unions in the education sector are selling to us is a causal link between schools infrastructure and pupil performance. This is a blue lie.
Some rural schools with good infrastructure delivered very bad results, thanks to their desultory teachers.
Others with modest infrastructure delivered some of the best results, thanks to their dedicated staff. Tell no lies Artuz, PTUZ. You are criminals!
Meanwhile, PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe told NewsDay in an interview that if defending the rights of teachers is a crime, then so be it. Said Majongwe:
If representing teachers and defending the interests of the poor is a crime, then surely we are criminals ready to be tried in a competent court of law. We are waiting for the trial date.
Since 2015, the Grade 7 pass rate has gone above 50 per cent only once, with the results over the five-year period as follows; 2015 38,3%, 2016 (42%), 2017 (44%), 2018 (52,08), 2019 (36,9%) and 2020 (37,11).