#SaveOurEducationZw: 5 million voices for 5 million learners

Zimbabwe has a total learner population of almost 5 million, who are enrolled from Early Child Development, (ECD) to Advanced level, (A level). These learners are on the verge of completely losing out on their right to education because of government policies and attitudes towards education. The challenges blighting the education sector include both long term unresolved structural challenges and short-term urgent challenges. This campaign is focusing on resolution of the short term and urgent challenges. We seek to build a movement of 5 million voices piling pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to address the following challenges.

There is no learning taking place in our public schools because teachers are severely incapacitated because of underpayment. Teachers are earning an average of ZWL 17 000 at a time when the Total Consumption Poverty Level, T.C.P.L for a family of six stands at ZWL 30 000. Government slashed teacher wages from a minimum of USD 520 in 2018 to the current USD 150, inclusive of COVID 19 allowance. It is therefore the collective responsibility of all citizens to demand the restoration of the pre-October 2018 salaries.

The “Situation of Children” report by UNICEF in 2020, states that, poverty has a child’s face in Zimbabwe, 4, 8 million children live in poverty and 1.6 million children live in extreme poverty. 26, 6% of children population are not living with either parent. These children are still expected to pay a fee to access education in Zimbabwe. Section 75 of the constitution of Zimbabwe mandates government to provide basic education. Sustainable Development Goal number 4 mandates governments to offer inclusive access to education, leaving no one behind. It is against this background of acute poverty among learners and constitutional obligation binding government that we call on all citizens to add their voices calling for State funded education.

The government of Zimbabwe produced Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs in the face of COVID19. Public schools remain incapacitated to implement the SOPs. A survey conducted by the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ in November 2020, revealed a 33% compliance to SOPs which has further dropped to 25% in March 2021. If the third wave of COVID-19 is to hit Zimbabwe, schools will become super spreaders of COVID-19 and will be forced to close as was the case on March 24 2020. Closing schools will deny learners their right to education since Zimbabwe does not have a remote learning policy and capacity to deliver the same.

It is against this background that we are calling upon all citizens to join our call for #SafeSchools in the face of COVID19.

Summary of demands

  • Generally we are calling for more budgetary support towards education, 22% of national budget to be channeled towards education in line with the Dakar declaration. More specifically we demand;
  • Minimum USD 520 as monthly salary for teachers, #NoToSlaveWages
  • State funded basic education, #FeesMustFall
  • Safety in schools in the face of COVID19, #SafeSchools

How to add your voice?

  • Sign the #SaveOurEducationZw petition here or request a physical copy through whatsapp +27827295212
  • Make a short video pledging support to the #SaveOurEducationZw campaign and reiterating our three key demands. Share the video on social media tagging @ARTUZ_teachers and use #SaveOurEducationZw
  • Capture a photo of yourself holding a placard capturing our three demands. Share the picture on social media tagging @ARTUZ_teachers and use #SaveOurEducationZw
  • Leaders of organisations can take the pledge on behalf of their membership.

We call upon citizens from all walks of life to add their voices to the #SaveOurEducationZw campaign.

Source: ARTUZ

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