Teachers back decision to defer opening of schools

Teachers unions have welcomed the decision by Cabinet to defer the opening of schools in light of the increase in Covid-19 infections in the country.

Schools were expected to open on July 28 starting with Form Six, Form Four and Grade Seven classes while Lower Six, Form Three and Grade Six classes were expected to start three weeks later.

Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvanga said public examinations will continue as scheduled.

In an interview with CITE, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) National Treasurer Ladistous Zunde supported the cabinet decision.

“It’s obviously a welcome move, painfully taken though by the government after relentless pressure from unions particularly PTUZ and Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe ARTUZ,” said Zunde.

“We also however suspect political developments played a role particularly the impending 31 July demonstrations.”

Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (ZINATU) Chief Executive Officer, Manuel Nyawo said cabinet made the right decision.

“We can’t sacrifice lives when the situation itself is so evident that it can no longer allow, let alone sustain,” said Nyawo

“As ZINATU, we thank the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education for being highly sensitive to the demands of the time and taking the right course of action,” he said.

ARTUZ National Spokesperson, Nation Mudzitirwa said it was impossible to open schools amid a global pandemic.

“It was practically impossible to open schools in the midst of a pandemic, especially when Coronavirus recorded cases and deaths are increasing,” said Mudzitirwa.

“We as a union, we were totally against the opening of schools because we knew that the government did not have the capacity to provide PPEs to both teachers and learners.”

He said the cabinet’s decision was part of their effort to voice against the premature decision of opening of schools.

Mudzitirwa urged to open schools when Covid-19 is fully contained.

“We encourage the government to open schools when coronavirus is fully contained and also when all learners and teachers have properly tested not the temperature checking that was done to candidates who were writing June ZIMSEC public examinations,” he said.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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