The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
TEACHERS have threatened to boycott the invigilation of June Zimsec examinations alleging that the Government has failed to adhere to the High Court ruling for all examination centres to have put in place measures to protect the learners and invigilators against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The High Court had given the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education until today to have adhered to the World Health Organization’s standards of prevention to the spread of the pandemic.
The exams are scheduled to start today.
In a joint statement, teachers unions on Monday said they were disappointed that Zimsec has decided to proceed with the exams without satisfying itself that the order of the High Court had been complied.
They accused the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education of not taking stakeholders’ advice or learning from what is happening in other countries relating to the opening of schools.
The teachers’ unions they allege that the Government has trivialised their contribution, as teachers to the education sector especially regarding the issue of the preparedness of the schools to hold the June exams.
“Issues raised about fumigation of schools, provision of PPEs, schools being used as quarantine centres and WHO guidelines and standards have not been adequately addressed.
“The truth of the matter is that the majority of schools haven’t been fumigated yet and the process has been left to the schools to do it. Where fumigation has taken place, it has in some instances been done by people without the technical and professional expertise,” reads the statement.
The teachers further raised concern over the failure to adhere to the set period of fumigation and the occupation of rooms noting that teachers and learners could be exposed to dangerous fumes and chemicals.
“The teachers and candidates are also being asked to bring their own masks and gloves whose standards are not verified, there is no testing of teachers for Covid-19 done so far despite the fact that they are being asked to congregate from various places and backgrounds.
“Government has not put in place mechanisms to assist teachers so that they can navigate the vagaries of poverty,” said the teachers.
The unions also called for the provision of clearance letters to ensure safe travel for teachers from their homes to their work stations.
They further expressed concern on the issue of payment of invigilation fees saying Zimsec had to commit themselves to paying similar to the paying of markers.
“Invigilators too must be paid and Zimsec once made that commitment and it is time to honour that obligation without fail.
“Until the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Zimsec meet the WHO standards in their entirety, and resolve the quandary of travel documents, transport costs and payment for invigilation, teachers would not be available for invigilation,” reads the statement.
The unions said the move was encouraged by their regard for the health, safety and welfare of teachers and pupils.