‘Incapacitation’ forces teachers to abandon exam classes

TEACHERS unions yesterday claimed that their members had failed report for duty to invigilate the on-going ‘O’ level and ‘A’ level school examinations due to incapacitation, leading to villagers being hired for the job at some schools.

Examination classes kicked off throughout the country yesterday, where students sat for the ‘O’ level Biology paper, ‘A’ level English Literature, and ‘A’ level Physics paper.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou yesterday told NewsDay: “At the moment invigilation is being carried out by headmasters, their deputy heads, senior teachers as well as heads of departments.  A majority of teachers remain incapacitated and are at home.”

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union President Obert Masaraure said random checks by his union showed that the examinations at rural schools were invigilated by school administrators, while some schools outsourced invigilation duties to villagers and other members of the public.

But Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro rubbished the claims, saying the unions were desperate for attention.

“The truth is it’s totally preposterous to think that villagers can invigilate examinations, or that we have a shortage of teachers.  It is really unfair and is a cry for attention. Exams are progressing well. We have no hitches and we have no complaints. We are very proud of our education system and our teachers who are doing a great job invigilating.”

Teachers also told NewsDay that they were also planning to go on strike as soon as President Emmerson Mnangagwa announces the re-opening of other classes, which remain closed indefinitely.

They alleged that their salaries were $21 000 per month, which fall to $14 000 after deductions.

“We all know that the government knows that the peanuts paid to us on the 17th of December as bonuses have been long eroded, and it is hoped that if the opening date is announced after the January payday, teachers will then get bus fares to their work stations,” said Educators Union of Zimbabwe president Tafadzwa Munodawafa.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president Richard Gundane said: “The solution as we get into 2022 would be to get a dignified component of remuneration in US dollars. Many educators will fail to report for duty as schools re-open because of salaries that are below the poverty datum line.”

But the acting Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima yesterday told NewsDay that government will maintain its No Work, No Pay policy in 2022 if teachers decide to go on strike.

“It doesn’t matter when schools will open, even if schools open tomorrow or at a later date, we expect all teachers to go back to work and report for duty.  As government, we will maintain the stance that if you don’t come to work, you don’t get paid. The National Joint Council (NJC) is dealing with the issue of conditions of services for all civil servants.

“The process of talking to each other must be respected.  We do not want a situation whereby one or two teachers’ unions wants to disrupt the system. We will not allow that to happen,” Mavima said.

Secretary to the Public Service Commission (PSC), Jonathan Wutawunashe said: “The correct forum for negotiations between government and civil servants is the NJC. Those negotiations avoid discriminatory focus on any sector, as they address remuneration and conditions of service for all civil servants. In the NJC all civil servants regardless of sector, are represented by the Apex Council which is a federation of public sector unions which include teachers’ unions,” Wutaunashe said.

But PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said: “The PSC must respect its own processes and make sure that the law is respected. The NJC has since run its race and must be replaced as soon as possible. The NJC is now moribund and must be buried. The new republic must walk the talk,” Majongwe said. https://masvingomirror.com

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