Teachers unions have vowed to boycott the invigilation of June/July examinations arguing that the government has failed to meet regulations stipulated by a High Court order to protect teachers and learners against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC), examinations are set to commence on June 30.
The High Court on June 19, ruled that for the examinations to proceed, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Health and Child Care, ZIMSEC had to provide protective resources at all examination centres.
President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Takavafira Zhou told CITE in an interview that teachers’ unions held a meeting, Monday, where they reached a consensus that they will not report for duty until all the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirements are met.
Zhou said the government is in contempt of court and the issue at hand is a matter of life and death hence the teachers are not going to risk their lives by going to work when there are no resources to protect them nor the learners.
“Nothing has been done at the examination centres to ensure that we are protected. Teachers are not employed by ZIMSEC. As it stands no transport allowance has been availed to the teachers to enable them to go to their respective centres. We are still under lockdown, the least ZIMSEC could have done was to craft exemption letters for teachers to travel to places where they will be invigilating but they didn’t,” Zhou said.
“No masks or sanitisers have been availed. Schools have not been disinfected as yet. We are not returning to work until these standards are met. The government has failed to honour the High Court ruling. Life is very precious and as teachers, we have chosen t to preserve it by staying at home.”
In a statement issued on Monday, Minister of Primary and Secondary education, Cain Mathema, said the examinations were going ahead as per the ZIMSEC timetable.
Minister Mathema noted that the ministry had secured all necessary measures to ensure the safety of candidates and invigilators.
“The ministry would like to assure the nation that necessary measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of candidates and invigilators. To this end, thermometers, disinfectants, face masks, wash facilities and hand sanitisers have been procured for all examination centres to protect from Covid-19,” Minister Mathema said.