The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said that it is expecting all teachers to report for duty on 15 March when schools open for the first term.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro told NewsDay on Monday that schools have already been provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) for both learners and teachers. He said:
Government is expecting a 100% upward trajectory of teachers returning to work on March 15.
Schools have already been provided with proper personal protective equipment for students and teachers to use as the 2021 learning calendar commences.
Meanwhile, teachers’ unions are divided over whether their members would report for duty when schools open next week.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) have both said their members are financially incapacitated to report for duty.
However, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZTA) chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu yesterday urged teachers to report for duty saying they should not mix the issue of salaries and that of safety from the coronavirus at schools. Ndlovu said:
We are saying let us get support from every corner to ensure that the opening of schools is a success and we should not mix COVID-19 issues with the perennial issue of teachers’ welfare and salaries because the closure of schools was due to COVID-19 challenges.
The issue of salaries is a permanent feature that can never be exhausted even in developed countries, and right now, the issue at hand is about addressing the safety of teachers and students when schools open during COVID-19.
Ndlovu added that teachers’ unions risk losing public sympathy is they continued to hold leaners at ransom over salaries. He said:
I do not think that the other unions will get public support by continuing to advance the issue of salaries at the expense of the learners.
I would encourage my colleagues to desist from marrying the issue of COVID-19 with the issue of salaries.
Our position is clear, that we should ensure that students get back to school in a safe environment.