Zimbabwe’s schools failed to open today as Zimbabwe’s education crisis explodes. Teachers stuck to their guns and refused to report for duty. Learners are also battling to make it to the schools and those who managed to make it to the classroom were turned back as there were no teachers to attend to them. Some schools literally had no one to open the school gates and remained closed.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ sampled slightly above 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s 6 797 primary schools, 720 schools were visited nationally. 10 primary schools were visited in each of the 72 education districts of Zimbabwe. 3 798 teachers, (5%) were sampled from the total primary teacher population of 75 960. 52 teachers being interviewed per district.
At Secondary school 2 392 teachers, (5%) were sampled from 47 839 total teacher population. 33 were interviewed from each of the 72 education districts. 298 schools, (10%) were sampled from the 2 980 Secondary schools. 4 secondary schools were visited per each education district.
The findings were as follows;
Table 1: Findings from Schools Visits.
|School Category||Schools completely Closed||Only learners Present||Teaching and learning taking place|
Table 2: Findings from interviews with teachers
|School category||Went to school||Did not|
It is apparent that no teaching and learning is taking place in 0ver 96 % of our schools. Some of the teachers who reported for duty were saying they won’t be reporting for duty tomorrow since they were overwhelmed by work. Those teachers who will continue reporting for duty are the ones receiving incentives from parents.
The Union did not gather statistics of learner attendance because there were no teachers to complete learners’ attendance registers. Some district leaders conducted random interviews with some parents who claimed that were failing to raise resources for fees and learning materials. The teachers are failing to make it to the school, learners are struggling to make it to the classroom and schools remain closed. A solution is needed urgently.
The Union has long made the following recommendations to government:
- All stakeholders dialogue to find solutions to the education crisis.
- Restoration of pre-October 2018 salaries for teachers, USD 540.
- Education recovery grants for all schools.
- State funded basic education.
- Enhancing capacity of schools to adhere to Standard Operating Procedure
The Union implores Mthuli Ncube to dump the ruinous austerity measures and rescue the education sector from collapse. Mthuli is committing an academic genocide and destroying a whole generation. Barring the poor from accessing education is a sure recipe for entrenching inequality and sow seeds of future conflict. The anti people professor, Mthuli Ncube is working round the clock to frustrates efforts to attain, Zimbabwe’s vision 2030, SADC’s Vision 2050, Africa Union’s 2063 agenda and Sustainable development Goal, SDG 4.
ARTUZ is engaging parents communities across the country, strengthening our Parents Teacher Associations, PTAs. The Union firmly believes that both the teacher and the parent have been systematically dispossessed of their political power to decide for Zimbabwe’s education. The two parties should therefore work in Unison to reclaim the power to decide the future of education. The parents teachers’ coalition must make Zimbabwe ungovernable until the education crisis is resolved.
ARTUZ further calls upon learners to rise up and defend their right to education. Learners are not hopeless victims but fighters in their own. The stories of learners who led Soweto uprisings in South Africa and those who swapped the pen for the gun during the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe should inspire current generation of learners.
We encourage sister Unions in the Federation of Zimbabwe, Educators Unions, FOZEU to press on until teachers’ demands are met. Congratulations to the teachers of Zimbabwe for demonstrating unity and boldness in the face austerity and a repressive state. Going forward we encourage teachers to resist any form of bullying and deceit from Zimbabwe’s State. The old no work no pay threat should be flatly ignored. The poisoned carrot of being told by yellow unions to go to work while negotiations continue should be rejected with the contempt it deserves.
Teachers and parents should brace for physical protests as we seek to urgently restore the dignity of the classroom.