The government says it has allocated ZWL$500 million to schools as part of its commitment to ensuring that they reopen in a safe environment for both learners and teachers.
Last week (Friday), government representatives and teachers’ unions held a virtual meeting where the teachers’ representatives managed, for the first time, to air their grievances.
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Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro told NewsDay that the government will also speak with different teachers’ unions on the way forward. Said Ndoro:
The ministry has always been concerned with ensuring quality education in schools. We welcome all unions that represent teachers for the betterment of the educational system.
However, the ministry also represents about two-thirds of the teachers who are not subscribing to any union.
Therefore, the government always strives to avail the required resources to meet the needs of both learners and teachers for a flourishing education system.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said during the meeting, teachers raised a number of grievances, including that parents could not afford to foot the bill for PPEs. He said:
We highlighted the unpreparedness of schools to open given the government’s reluctance to assist in safe schools’ opening.
ARTUZ bemoaned the fact that the government had issued a decree for parents to entirely foot the bill for the implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) disregarding the fact that citizens had their savings and livelihoods eroded by COVID-19-induced lockdowns.
The ministry admitted that this was an error and the government had reserved $500m for schools for the SOPs.
In June the government postponed the reopening of schools but last month President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered that preparations should begin.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) recently called for the reopening of schools after mid-September, based on the premise that more vaccinations and high temperatures would have by then lowered COVID-19 cases.