Spare a thought for schoolchildren

Reports by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education that students have turned to wild sex orgies, drug abuse and stripping, are worrisome.

The activities are happening after the students have allegedly been without supervision since last week due to the on-going strike by teachers. Even more disturbing are the videos making rounds on social media of students engaging in nefarious activities due to lack of supervision by school authorities.

It is unfortunate that government has, as expected, buried its head in the sand and dismissed the reports as fake, although a child rights group has confirmed the activities.
The child rights group even stated that schoolchildren had turned the schools into nightclubs due to the absenteeism of teachers and clearly we cannot live with such situations for long.

As ZimChild Network, which included former junior parliamentarian for Kuwadzana, Freddy Mugayi, said in a video Press conference yesterday, it is about time government engaged teacher organisations to find a lasting solution to their plight.

It boggles the mind why government seems to neglect the teachers when they play a central in shaping the future of the nation.

We believe denialism will not help. It is a fact that there is no learning happening in schools. Very few teachers if any have reported for duty to prepare the students for examinations.

This is the time we require pragmatism over politicking. Government should just close the schools if it cannot meet the teachers’ demand for a pay hike.

Teachers are not insensitive but the government’s conduct informs their actions. Clearly, teachers have needs; they also have children who need to go to school. Surely, who in his/her normal senses can expect teachers to teach other people’s children when they are unable to send their own children to school?

It is about time government redefined its priorities. It is an open secret that ahead of the planned July 31 protests, government increased salaries for State security agents – military and police officers — because it wanted them to clamp down on protestors. But the same government, through Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima, accuses teachers of making outrageous demands.

Security officers including soldiers and police earn between $12 000 and $30 000 while other civil servants are paid an average of $4 000. Now, that teachers, earning a third of what their counterparts are earning, are demanding salary increases, they are vilified, what duplicity is that? It is high time the government understood that the future of the country lies in an educated personnel, and sacrificing today’s generation by denying children their right to education is surrendering their future to fate.

Is it not true that an uneducated population poses a threat to the wellbeing of a nation? Why does government want to condemn the future of our children to the gutter?
Can we be serious for once!

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