BY STAFF REPORTERS
CHAOS characterised the reopening of schools for non-examination classes yesterday, with pupils not turning up at most schools possibly assuming that teachers heeded their unions’ call for a nationwide strike.
At most schools visited by NewsDay, teachers reported for duty in large numbers, but there were very few pupils.
Information ministry permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana confirmed the development on his Twitter handle, saying: “Surprisingly, it is the students who registered less than 100% turnout in some schools such as Munondo Primary, Daikieth and Windsor Primary School (in Goromonzi.”
Mashonaland West provincial education director Gabriel Mhumha also said: “Today, we witnessed more teachers reporting for work than students reporting for school. The teachers’ percentage turnout was around 90%-100%, while students’ turnout was around 70%-95%.”
But Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure claimed that over 90% of teachers had heeded the strike call.
“We have embarked on a nationwide protest under the banner #SaveOurEducation. We are demanding that government resolves the incapacitation of teachers as our salaries should be restored to pre-October 2018 levels, where we were earning salaries ranging between US$520 and US$550,” he said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said: “We support Artuz and what we are calling for is a clear constructive dialogue between government and teachers as soon as possible.We want to believe that there is something positive that can be born if we put our heads together. Let us dialogue and possibly agree on a solution.”
Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union national co-ordinator Wonder Nyapokoto said: “Our stance regarding this issue is that our members are incapacitated and can only go once a day or once a week or fail to report for work at all considering the limited resources concerned.”
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro, however, told NewsDay that there were no protests and the ministry was happy with the teachers’ and pupils’ turnout.