Zimbabwe: Minister Unaware of Teachers' Wage Grievances As Schools Reopen

23 September 2020

Government Tuesday announced schools will re-open starting next week but the process will be done in phases starting with learners who are due for final examinations this year.

However, Education Minister Cain Mathema said he was unaware teachers were planning not to report for duty in protest over poor salaries and working conditions including lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs).

"We all know the government and representatives of teachers are in negotiations and the issue that teachers will go on strike I am hearing it for the first," the minister said in response to questions from the media during the post-cabinet briefing Tuesday.

The government closed schools in March this year as part of safety measures against the deadly Covid-19 virus.

Since then, learners have not been able to access educational services although students writing their June ZIMSEC examinations managed to sit.

Addressing the same briefing, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government was satisfied with measures, "taken to ensure that schools are reopened for examination classes in a safe environment."

"Progress has been made on the comprehensive logistical plan for the coordinated, accelerated completion of the schools' WASH project; the supply and distribution of PPE, hygiene kits, disinfectants, and infrared thermometers to all public schools," Mutsvangwa said.

Mathema added the schools would be re-opened in phases starting with Upper Six, Form Four, and Grade Seven students who are due for examinations this year while the rest of learners will resume school in October.

"Cabinet is pleased to announce that Cambridge Examination Centres reopened successfully on 14 September 2020 and no health incidents were reported.

"In light of the high level of preparedness in the education sector, schools will be reopened in a phased manner. Phase 1 will open on September 28; this will entail Grade 7, Forms 4 and 6. Phase 2 will open on 26 October 2020 and will involve Grade 6, Form 3, and 5. Finally, Phase 3 will open on 9 November 2020 covering the rest of the learners which covers ECD A and B, Grade 1,2,3,4,5, Form 1, and 2," said Mathema.

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