BY TATENDA SQUARE/BEAUTY NYUKE
TEACHERS’ unions yesterday said this year’s ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level students were not ready to sit for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) June examinations following the disruption of the educational calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic since last year.
Several teachers’ unions told NewsDay that learners were not prepared as online learning was not effective, especially in the rural areas.
They also said they were not ready for the reopening of schools due to government’s failure to pay them a living wages.
Their assertions came soon after government last week announced that Zimsec June examinations would go ahead as planned.
Last Wednesday, Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema said the June examinations would go ahead, but indicated that they might be some adjustments to the timetable.
The ministry is currently on a countrywide tour of schools to check on their preparedness for reopening.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said: “As of now, teachers are incapacitated. As long as the government does not address this issue, then there will not be proper implementation of the workplan for the scheduled examinations.”
“It is painfully worrisome that we are entering the third month into the new year with teachers singing the same song of incapacitation. This is despite that the employer is in the full knowledge of the erosion of our salaries by price hikes which began as we approached the festive season last December,” he said.
Teachers are demanding salaries equivalent to US$520.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said rural candidates were not ready for the June examinations due to lack of internet connectivity.
“While teachers are ready to assist, our worry is that some learners, especially those in rural areas are not yet equipped to sit for the June examinations since they were not partaking in online lessons as they had no gadgets. Some of the teachers in the rural areas do not even own a smartphone, and this will affect June registrations,” Majongwe said.