‘Cabinet misled on learners’ safety’

Taungana Ndoro


THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) yesterday alleged that the Primary and Secondary Education ministry misled Cabinet into recommending the premature opening of schools on March 15, which has resulted in a surge in COVID-19 infections.

This comes at a time when the country has recorded a surge in COVID-19 cases, with most of the recorded positive cases last week being at learning institutions.

“Prince Edward High School recently recorded seven cases, Dove Secondary School in Mberengwa (40), Sacred Heart Primary School in Esigodini in Matabeleland South (117), Sacred Heart High School in Matabeleland South (114), Girls College in Bulawayo  (3), Umzingwane High School in Matabeleland South (55) and Mzilikazi Primary School in Bulawayo (8),” PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said in a statement.

“The ministry misled the Cabinet into recommending the opening of schools prematurely.  Lies have short legs as shown by a quantum leap of COVID-19 cases in schools since last month.”

“To assume that this is a result of boarding schools allowing pupils to travel over Easter holidays as Taungana Ndoro (Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson) would like us to believe is not only unfortunate but scandalous, vague and vacuous,” he said.

Ndoro said his ministry was working in collaboration with the Health ministry to contain the new COVID-19 outbreak at schools.

“In collaboration with the Health ministry, we are working tirelessly to contain the COVID-19 situation which has arisen in very few of our schools,” he told NewsDay yesterday.

But Zhou said government should have consulted teachers’ unions as they were better informed about the situation on the ground.

“We, therefore, urge the government not to listen to propaganda manufactured by the ministry officials, but to sober professional trajectory from teacher unions.”

He said there was need to urgently test teachers, pupils and ancillary staff in schools to contain the spread of the disease.

  •  Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe