Day of the African Child: “Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First”

This year’s Day of the African Child’s Commemorations come at a time when there is a dire humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe’s education sector. Children are failing to access their right to education because of a labour dispute between the government and its employees. Incomes of teachers and the generality of the working class have been heavily eroded as government sticks to its failed austerity measures. Teachers are incapacitated and there is no learning taking place in our schools. The amendment of the education act however gives a long term window of opportunity.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ joins the rest of the world in commemorating the day of the African Child. We commit ourselves to play our part in pushing for the realization of the vision held by Hector Peterson and his colleagues in 1976. Their vision was inclusive access to quality and empowering education for the young people.

ARTUZ is currently fighting on two fronts to engender inclusive access to quality education.

1) The Education Bill

We are lobbying for the adoption of:

a) Norms and Standards of a school in the education bill. These norms and standards will go a long way in defining what a proper school should look like. This will go a long in enhancing access to quality education to learners in remote areas who are currently learning under trees and other make shift structures.

b) Education equalization fund which will receive revenue from levies in our mining sector and contribution from corporates, development agents and progressive citizens. This fund will be used for infrastructure development in substandard schools. The fund will also be used to pay a rural retention and attraction allowance for our rural teachers.

c) Safe schools regulations barring political actors and all people with nothing to do with school ecosystem from our schools. This we ensure that quality learning takes place in a tranquil environment for teachers and learners.

d) Devolved education planning and funding to allow regions to plan for their education needs.

e) Concrete provisions for guaranteeing teacher welfare with regards to access to proper shelter, clean water, sanitation, information, continuous learning and clean energy.

2. A living wage for our teachers

Teachers in Zimbabwe are earning an average of US$60 which translates to US$2 per day. This income has reduced them to paupers and has compromised their ability to deliver quality lessons. No meaningful learning is taking place in our schools.

ARTUZ is committed to ensure that teachers are well paid and deliver quality lessons for our learners. To that end we have launched a #NotoSlaveWages Campaign. The campaign is now in phase two. Teachers will be completely withdrawing their labour from 18-21 June protesting against slave wages.

ARTUZ is hopeful that the government will be forced to review teacher salaries so that genuine teaching can take place in our schools.
ARTUZ calls upon citizens of the globe to stand in solidarity with us as we seek to end the humanitarian crisis in our education sector. Our State has been very brutal, abducting, harassing, torturing and detaining our members who are desperately trying to save our education from total collapse. Support our cause so that we can put an end to the crisis in our education sector.

Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)