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Civil servants raise red flag against education conference

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TEACHERS in Zimbabwe have described the education conference called for by the government later this month to discuss the new curriculum, among other things, as “nothing other than an exhibition expo”, where they are going to window dress “things”.

BY NIZBERT MOYO

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the government had invited teachers to tell them about its experiences, which are detached from the educators.

Majongwe said they had made it very clear that the new curriculum had not been endorsed through stakeholder participation, and they suspect that the government now wants to do so in retrospect.

“You cannot put a lipstick on a pig and say it is now beautiful. There are concerns that have been brought forward by headmasters, issues of marks grading, books, issues of continuous assessment and so forth,” he said.

“There is no space for us to discuss concerns raised about the Nziramasanga Commission. This is a misrepresentation of what stakeholderism is all about.”

Majongwe said the conference was going to create strategic planning challenges for both teachers and parents, as some schools do not have the capacity to do so according to concerns raised by headmasters.

“Some headmasters in Matabeleland North have said they are expected to spend about $400 per school when there is no furniture at schools. Most of the schools rely on BEAM [Basic Education Assistance Module]. This will be difficult for them to send headmasters to go to a conference which they don’t even know what it seeks to achieve,” Majongwe said.

“Why are we punishing poor parents twice and be made to pay for a regalia, whose message we are not told, not even agreed about with anyone? It means we are going to wear clothes that carry messages that we have not created ourselves. Worse still, we may even agree with the message that we are made to wear and some headmasters have been made to do bank overdrafts.”

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu said the outcry was intense as school administrators had made it clear that they do not have the capacity for such a conference.

“There is no way you can have 10 000 people in a 5 000-seater area. Something is wrong in the planning. The conference has turned out to be a rally,” he said.

“Teachers are now fearing for their survival in the profession such that if you don’t go, you are given a tag and this tag will knock you off from the profession.”

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