The much hyped Presidential indaba on education sector turned out to be a big joke in a preparatory meeting held today at Ambassador House. The meeting was chaired by the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Sylvia Utete. It turned out that the Ministry wanted to invite Teacher Unions to sanitize their shambolic Ministry to try and woo unsuspecting investors.
As a Union we were hoping to meet the labour shy President to appraise him on the challenges affecting our sector and proffer alternative policy proposals. Unfortunately Utete revealed that the indaba is going to be highly censored and teacher welfare will not be on the agenda.
One thing that came out strongly is that the ZANU PF government wants to auction our education sector to the highest bidder on the 18th of July 2018. The indaba is going to be used to secure loans and leave our sector in a serious debt crisis. Poor ordinary people will be forced to carry the debt burden as the government has since reneged on its obligation of funding education. This move is a direct contradiction with the party's manifesto wherein they promise free education. If education is to be free who will service the loans they are accumulating?
Amalgamated Rural Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ posits that education is a public good that should never be funded by profit seeking investors. The sector should be funded from our abundant mineral wealth and tax.
Utete unashamedly declared that Unions are only welcome to the indaba if they are going to wear investor jackets. The world is getting crazy.
AS ARTUZ if we are to attend the indaba it will only be for the sake of protesting from outside the venue. We will be rejecting commercializing of education and ridiculing the President for failing to attend to teacher welfare.
We still hope to meet this "listening" President or the next President to be ushered in by the 30 July elections to craft a shared vision for the education sector.
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)