Joint Update by Teachers’ Unions of Zimbabwe on Teachers’ Incapacitation, Opening of Schools and Writing of Public Examinations.
01 October 2020
On the 22nd of September 2020, all the eight Teachers’ Unions in Zimbabwe met at ZIMTA House, as key stakeholders in the education sector, and made a bold statement about Teachers’ plight and the trajectory to be adopted by Government in order to guarantee quality public education in Zimbabwe. However, the Government proceeded to open schools on the 28th of September 2020 against the advice by Unions. The Government also ignored the fact that the teachers are really incapacitated to report for duty because their September salaries had long been wiped out by the highly inflationary economic environment. Therefore, this communique seeks to give an update to our members and all concerned stakeholders who want to see a better education system in our country.
• The incapacitation action started on a high note and has since escalated to higher levels since the 28th of September. More than 100 000 teachers have now joined the action and more are expected to partake because their poverty is a reality.
• There is no meaningful teaching and learning taking place in schools because the few teachers who decided to report for duty have adopted the clock in – sit in – walk out style due to fear of victimisation.
• Government is lying to the world that they have done everything to protect the Teachers and learners against Covid-19. There PPEs provided by Government are not enough. Schools are yet to receive the Covid-19 abatement equipment.
• No testing of Teachers and learners for Covid-19 has been done. Teachers and learners were made to congregate without ascertaining if they were Covid-19-free.
• The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cain Mathema, has threatened to fire incapacitated Teachers and replace them with 10 000 unemployed Teachers without making effort to engage the Unions to hear the Teachers’ grievances.
That being the case, we, the undersigned Teachers’ Unions of Zimbabwe appeal to the following:
• To our members the Teachers, this is not the time to agonise but to organise, mobilise, recruit and activate for a United Incapacitation Action. We want to assure our members in particular and Teachers in general that there is nothing to fear because all the necessary steps of informing the Government and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) about our plight were taken. Therefore, all our members are legally covered. To the free-riders, a Clarion call we are making is that this is the time to join any Union of your choice and be counted as part of the solution rather than problem to the challenges being faced by Teachers.
• Teachers should also desist from the clock in-sit in and or walk out style because that is very dangerous and very a serious offence. Unions will find it difficult to defend such Teachers if found wanting.
• To all level-headed Zimbabweans, Churches and Parliamentarians, you cannot afford to fold your hands during these trying times where the education and future of your children and the country is being tampered with. Please, implore the Government to pay Teachers a living wage. The Teachers are languishing in abject poverty and have fallen from grace to grass with monotonous regularity so much that they have no capacity to teach their students. If this impasse is not resolved, it will haunt our society.
• To Minister Mathema, this is the time to engage the relevant stakeholders, especially Teachers’ Unions rather than bellowing out threats. These threats will not solve the problems at hand but rather exacerbate the situation. Instead of addressing the labour issues raised by Teachers, you have threatened to fire the incapacitated Teachers. It is very dangerous to view every problem as a nail where a hammer should be applied. A free warning we are offering you is that the route you want to take will leave you bruised. It’s not too late to engage us.
• To our students, as your Teachers, we love you so much but the situation is not yet conducive. We also want to call upon you to amplify our plea for better treatment from Government. If the Soweto Students did it in the 1970s against the Apartheid Regime in South Africa, you can also do it here. The voices of the students may send a bold message to our arrogant Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Once the sticking issues are dealt with, your Teachers will adequately prepare you for your examinations.
• To the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, this is the time to engage the Teachers’ Unions once again because we have reached a stage where we cannot afford to ignore engagement with the view to finding lasting solution.
• To the President HE E. D. Mnangagwa, what is happening in the education sector should have moved you by now. Your silence, Your Excellency, is shocking. We don’t want to believe that you want to be remembered for destroying the education system of this country when you are gone. The Teachers need your attention and the time for positive intervention is now.
ARTUZ – Chere R.
PTUZ – Zunde L.
TUZ – Phiri R.
ZDTU – Tasaranarwo F.
ZIMTA – Sibanda N. T.
ZINATU – Nyawo M.
ZINEU – Chinosengwa C.
ZRTU – Fambai F.