Daniel Itai – The Zimbabwe Daily

Harare, Zimbabwe – The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has dismissed the proposed reopening of schools by the government on the 28th of July 2020.

“The Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) earlier on  announced that June examinations will be conducted beginning on 30 June. The Minister of Information Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa later announced that schools will open on 28 July for candidates for 2020 public examinations.

It should be noted that 66 000 candidates are sitting for 2020 June examinations. 9 900 teachers will be needed to invigilate the examinations.

On opening schools 136 000 teachers and almost 5 million learners will be admitted in our schools.

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The teacher compliment will  have to be boosted by 90 000 teachers to achieve social distancing in our classrooms and plug the gap of staff shortage.

ARTUZ jointly authored petitions with 6 other Teacher Unions on 2 May, 26 May and 8 June 2020. On the three occassions we sought to impress upon government on measures that should be undertaken for safe schools opening.

On 29 May we made submissions to Parliament portfolio committeee on education making recommendations on conditions that should be met for safe opening of schools.

Our recommendations were taken on board by the committee as demonstrated by the motion moved for debate by Committee Chairperson Hon. Misihairambwi Mushonga on 4 June 2020. The ensuing debate was one sided with all parliamentarians agreeing that schools should remain closed until safety measures have been instituted.

It was therefore a shock for us when ZIMSEC announced dates for June examinations and we were further shocked when the Minister of Information announced dates for reopening schools,” read a statement from ARTUZ.

Although Zimbabwe is still sitting on less than 300 COVID-19 cases and four deaths many still think it’s immature for government to consider the reopening of schools.