Zimbabwe: 'Re-Opening of Schools, an Ambush to Teachers and Parents'

26 August 2021

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has described the government decision on the re-opening of schools, barely 24 hours after extending the COVID-19 lockdown, as an ambush to both parents and teachers.

On Tuesday evening, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the extension of the national lockdown by a further two weeks.

Following Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Mutsvangwa announced the government decision on the re-opening of schools with examination classes opening on 30 August 2021, while non-examination classes would open on 6 September.

In a statement, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou also said the government had "ambushed" teachers and parents as it did not give them time to prepare for the reopening of schools.

"We have not yet received formal communication from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in terms of time frames for the reopening of schools, but understand that such time frames were given today by the government.

"This is surely an ambush, a day after the government had even enunciated an extension of lockdown for two weeks which ordinarily entailed that the issue of opening of schools would be determined after two weeks," said Zhou.

He suggested that government should have opened schools after teachers' pay day to allow those who need to travel to their work stations to do so without financial challenges.

"Who has a stash of money just lying around to be used for fees or bus fare back to work. Government may be ready, but no-one else is. The so-called salary was used up around pay day for everyone," added Zhou

In an interview with 263Chat, Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions spokesperson Charles Chinosemwa described the government announcement as an ambush.

"Parents, teachers and learners have all been ambushed. Three days notice is not enough to prepare for back to school considering fees and bus fare. The so called salary was used up on pay day for everyone, to make matters worse these are exam classes to face confused teacher who is hungry,"

Chinosemwa said the government was supposed to engage teachers before announcing opening dates.

"We want learners to get more attention but with this teachers are frustrated," he added.

Meanwhile, Amalgamated Rural Teacher's Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has scheduled protests on the 30th of August demanding quality education for learners.

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