The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has slammed the government for announcing the dates for the resumption of classes barely 24 hours after extending the COVID-19 lockdown.
On Tuesday evening, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the extension of the national lockdown by another two weeks.
But following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Mutsvangwa said examination classes would open on 30 August 2021, while non-examination classes would open on 6 September.
In a statement yesterday, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the government had “ambushed” teachers and parents as it did not give them time to prepare for the reopening of schools.
Below is Zhou’s statement on teachers’ reaction to the government’s school reopening time frames in full:
We have not yet received formal communication from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in terms of time frames for the reopening of schools, but understand that such time frames were given today by the government.
Against even its own indicators, we are really surprised that the government has enunciated that examination classes would open on 30 August 2021, while non-examination classes would open on 6 September.
This is surely an ambush, a day after the government had even enunciated an extension of lockdown for two weeks which ordinarily entailed that the issue of opening of schools would be determined after two weeks.
Teachers Unions also made suggestions for the successful reopening of schools and one would have thought that there would be an attempt to reconcile various Union submissions before the government would announce the dates for reopening of schools.
However, this has not happened as the tragedy in life is that those who make decisions may not necessarily have ideas, while those with ideas (teachers) do not make decisions.
Our projection as Ptuz was to the effect that schools could open around September payday taking advantage of hot temperatures and more vaccination to contribute to the decline of COVID-19 cases and giving the government adequate time to provide covid abatement equipment to schools, let alone providing running water to many schools.
It was also our hope that schools would open after the government would have addressed the quandary of teachers’ starvation wages.
Now that the government has come with this ambush, disregarding logic and common sense, and bearing in mind that teachers are grossly incapacitated and cannot even travel to their respective working stations, let alone pay school fees, it is incumbent upon them to respond to government’s enunciation.
We, therefore, urge PTUZ members in particular and teachers in general to communicate their response over the untimely announcement for the opening of schools to their respective district leaders across the country and the districts to the respective provinces, and in turn the provinces to PTUZ HQ.
As PTUZ leadership, we are merely conveyor belts of teachers’ interests and feelings and will resolutely and resiliently stand by resolutions that teachers would make.
Hope teachers would treat this communique with the urgency it deserves.
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