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Teachers demand consultation before reopening of schools

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BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA

TEACHERS have demanded that government must first consult all education stakeholders before announcing the opening of schools for the second term.

Government is yet to announce the date for the opening of schools, but last week it published Statutory Instrument (SI) 210 of 2021 stipulating that schools will be closed until August 10.

In a letter dated August 6, 2021 addressed to the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said a stakeholders’ meeting was imperative before schools open.

Majongwe said opening schools in the third week of August would not yield as they would be opened for a few weeks.

“We are aware that there is chatter about preparations of schools opening, both on the ground and social media and other platforms. We are also writing this cognisant of the fact that there are actual preparations on the part of the government for reopening of schools, possibly as early as the third week of August,” Majongwe said.

“Preparation by the government is not enough if we are to have seamless terms when we do open. Here we emphasise the importance of consultation between the ministry and its foot soldiers as well as representatives of teachers’ organisations.”

He said other discussions should also centre on teachers’ welfare, and their safety and that of schoolchildren during the COVID-19 period.

“It is in light of this that we call on you to convene a meeting with stakeholders to address the issues to avoid acrimony and recriminations that we have always witnessed everytime school opens.

“These issues include the structure of the academic year, including the second and third terms remaining for 2021, the need to determine a mutually agreed examination calendar, given the disruptions brought about by the continued closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic among others”.

Majongwe said teachers did not necessarily want war with government, adding that the stakeholders meeting should be tranquil as the future of students was at stake.

Last week, Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro told NewsDay that preparations for schools opening were at an advanced stage.

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