Schoolchildren should not be used as pawns in the ongoing discussions between teachers and the Government over challenges being faced in the education sector, the ruling Zanu PF Youth League has said.
In a Press statement, Zanu PF acting Youth League secretary, Cde Tendai Chirau, urged teachers to give their all in covering up for the lost time and commended the Second Republic for prioritising the critical education sector.
“We urge our educators to give their all in teaching and imparting knowledge to children. As a Youth League, we are aware of some real and tangible challenges currently faced by teachers, which challenges we know the Government is seized with. As negotiations between Government and teachers continue, it is our fervent hope that pupils will not be used as cannon fodder to create leverage,” said Cde Chirau.
The Government has set aside $600 million to ensure the safe reopening of schools that began on Monday with examination classes, while other classes will be returning in two more phases within the next six weeks.
“Under the shrewd charge of His Excellency Cde ED Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe continues to be valued for its high quality education.
“We recognise that education ranks chief among those rights fundamental to Zimbabwean youths, and therefore commend the Government for preserving our pupils’ opportunity to reach their full potential as responsible individuals in accordance with their evolving circumstances and capacities.”
Cde Chirau said the recruitment of a further 6 000 new teachers to account for the shrunk teacher-pupil ratio, necessitated by the new Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures, is ample evidence of the seriousness that the Government attaches to education.
The acting deputy secretary said although much time has been lost after the closure of schools due to Covid-19 in March, pupils and students should put shoulder to the wheel and pick up from where they left after the Government imposed a necessary lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“We also recognise the various relief efforts that were being made to close the learning gap by the authorities and other entrepreneurs in education, such as online and radio classes.
“Sadly, these efforts could not cover all pupils. We do therefore urge our national education structures to close ranks once again and lift up those who could not benefit due to limited resources and/or lack of access to the platforms.
“We urge all school development authorities and other stakeholders such as the parents to support the reopening of schools in all ways within their capacity,” said Cde Chirau.
As schools reopen, Cde Chirau said the nation at large should guard against laxity as the war against the global plague, that yesterday breached the 1 million mark in fatalities, is not yet over.
Recommended measures to curb the spread of the pandemic include, washing hands with soap and running, using hand sanitisers, wearing facial masks as well as physical distancing.