The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has warned the government against adopting a ‘command’ approach in dealing with the sensitive issue of reopening schools in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the government should instead establish an inclusive COVID-19 schools’ assessment taskforce to ascertain the level of preparedness in schools. He said:
A task force comprising teacher unions and ministries of education and health officials must be put in place to carry a Covid-19 risk assessment in schools and the levels of preparedness by schools for opening.
Any rushed decision to open schools before the above contingent measures are put in place would be suicidal, irresponsible and dereliction of duty by government.
Our position is that we must urgently put these measures in place, after which we can then discuss the opening of schools.
Zhou also implored the government to, among other things, restore the salaries of teachers’ purchasing power parity to US$520, to rein in on schools charging exorbitant fees and also to build new infrastructure at schools and employ more teachers in order to guarantee physical distancing.