The president of the Progressive Teachers’ Union (PTUZ) Dr Takavafira Zhou has applauded “several school heads” who “failed” to report teachers who have not been reporting for duty. Teachers refused to return to work when schools reopened on 28 September citing incapacitation. They are demanding the restoration of their 2018 salaries when they were being paid around USD520. They currently earn an average of USD30. We present Zhou’s statement below.
Teachers’ Decisive Incapacitation Battle Continues
10 November 2020
Revolutionary greetings comrades. We salute yesterday’s heroic incapacitation modus operandi which was a resounding success across the country.
We noted that where teaching ensued it was largely conducted by student teachers. We reiterate that student teachers have no right to teach classes in the absence of mentors and welcome all students teachers to the incapacitation struggle, more so in light of the starvation $150 allowance that they get on teaching practice.
We salute several school heads for failing to send names of incapacitated teachers to district and provincial offices. Incapacitation is real and lets not assist an exploitative system to silence our voices. The Ministry officials must cover the length and breadth of Zimbabwe to collect the names. We stand ready to defend our members as notification to this incapacitation has been made to both the employer and line Ministry.
Our incapacitation struggle must continue with all teachers engaging a high gear against the cold and calculated educational vandalism. Anyone who thinks schools may continue to operate in the current hap hazardous meddling and muddling through without teachers would be deflated very soon. The competence based curriculum need teachers to be in schools. The competencies are identified, inculcated, nurtured and perfected by teachers.
With the deflation of the command centre tailor-made to compile names of incapacitated teachers, we are aware that the next threat is to withdraw bonuses for teachers this month purporting that education will be paid in December. The gvt wants to use payment of bonuses as a bargaining chip. Our humble submission is that we stand ready for meaningful dialogue as Ptuz and part of the United Front of Teacher Unions. Such dialogue may salvage something for the 2020 academic year which is fast becoming a wasted year. The attempt to re-open schools seem to be tailor-made to entice students to pay fees than enhance meaningful learning and teaching. How students that are supposed to learn twice a week or eight times for only one month pay between $15000 and $25000 baffles logic and common sense.
While it is still puzzling how students would successfully write examination given the fact that there is no meaningful learning in schools, we want to remind Zimsec to be ready to pay invigilators if they dream of smoothy running of exams. We also appeal to the President of the country to urgently intervene over the welfare, health and safety of teachers in order to find a lasting solution in schools. Nothing substantial may come from discredited Apex Council that has no mandate from teacher unions and whose engagement in NJNC has become a tissue of misrepresentation. Dialogue with the United Front of Teacher Unions can in our view bring a modicum of normalcy to schools. There is danger that if no appropriate steps are urgently taken, the writing of examinations is also put in serious doubt. To be fore warned is to be forearmed. We hope gvt will take urgent steps to resolve the impasse in schools. The best way to resolve such an impasse is an objective redress of teachers’ pathetic welfare, let alone prioritisation of teachers and pupils’ health and safety. Teachers are more than ready to report for work but are sadly grossly incapacitated. Our clarion call is therefore the capacitation of teachers so that they can report at their work places and become vital cogs of national development.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)