The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe National Executive Council (NEC) held a meeting from 07 to 08 November 2021 to discuss, evaluate and define the future of education in Zimbabwe, a number of issues of importance were tabled and of particular unique note and urgency is the Tools down initiative that was embraced after wide consultation with the membership and other critical stakeholders nationwide.
The tools down initiative arose out of a background of a plethora of issues that have been left unaddressed for a long time pertaining the quality of education and welfare of teachers, a brief background is enveloped in the detail of deteriorating standards of education that has left the quality of education undesirable and the welfare of teachers that has been completely ignored by our government and that involves poor remuneration (teachers not receiving a living wage) which in turn has left them exposed to a host of challenges and poverty.
Furthermore the tools down idea is the agreement by teachers nationwide to totally withdraw labour and focus on bringing sanity and restoring order to a once revered profession that has turned into a laughing stock and foundation of jokes, teachers are currently earning less than USD150 an amount which is paid in worthless RTGS currency and unable to cover all the basic requisite necessities to lead a dignified living. Within the same vein teachers have been and are demanding a restoration of USD540 salary and the 12 voices for Education campaign seeks to draw support and foster collaborations with all critical stakeholders outside the membership of the teaching profession and aims at getting everyone on board with citizens being at the forefront of the campaign, the campaign is going to take 12 days of intense action complimented by the support from society within their organized social groupings such as parents, learners, lawyers, religious denominations, traditional leaders, labour, parliament, civic society and other progressive socio-economic groupings. Each group will have a day of its’ own to collaborate and support the teaching profession as part of the campaign by decisively speaking out in support or acting in support with the tools down campaign.
The campaign aims at bringing focus and creating collaborations while decisively registering complete displeasure at the employers’ lack of concern and compassion towards teacher welfare and the future of the country. ARTUZ is totally dedicated to bringing order and purpose towards education and such steps are products of proper action and things have reached a boiling point such that mere statements no longer reflect the level of poverty, pain and crisis teachers and the education sector are in, the only way forward is total withdrawal of labour with clear support from all elements of society who believe in restoring the status and glory of education in Zimbabwe that has been suffering a protracted assault by the employer who is the government of the day.
The campaign will run for twelve consecutive days commencing on 15 November 2021 to 26 November 2021 hence the twelve voices for education theme which seeks to highlight the importance of the concept and involvement of everyone.