REPORTS of a festering impasse between the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) and teachers over payment of invigilation allowances are a cause for concern given that the final examinations are just around the corner.
Learners writing final examinations this year will be seriously affected by the standoff should it remain unresolved.
The impasse exposes the pitfalls in Zimbabwe’s education system and brings to the fore problems being confronted by learners, moreso after spending the better part of the past two years out of class due to COVID–19 restrictions.
The 2021 Zimsec candidates have been affected by the restructuring of the teaching profession in the past few years, which means they require thorough preparations.
These factors could affect the pass rate if left unattended.
While Zimsec argues that the obligation to pay invigilators falls under the Public Service Commission (PSC), Public Service minister Paul Mavima said his ministry had no control over invigilation contracts.
This has led to threats by teachers to boycott invigilation, piling pressure on candidates who are not sure if examinations will take place.
Parents who have been struggling to make ends meet in the current economic crisis are also in a quandary.
Still, they have tried hard to have their children in school.
They have been forced to pay fees and levies, sometimes in foreign currency, whether pupils attended school or not.
They have also been affected by a steep rise in examination fees.
The education system is fractured, and the excellence that Zimbabwe’s education system has been known for could be under threat, unless problems like these are addressed timeously.
Zimbabwe is known for producing highly-educated personnel who excel in any endeavour they undertake.
But this position is under threat as long as government continues to engage in interminable battles with teachers and civil servants.
To arrest the deteriorating situation, government is thus called on to engage the teachers in constructive dialogue that clarifies the situation while teachers are reminded of the need to help children under their guidance.
Such a strategy would secure Zimbabwe’s future, while bringing solutions to the problems that have been bedevilling the education sector for some time.
They have genuinely complained about low salaries, which must be addressed.
They have already demonstrated that they are committed to their work, hence government must also demonstrate its willingness to address their concerns.
We demand a responsive and responsible government that takes care of its employees including teachers who are proud to have the honour of producing Zimbabwe’s future leaders.
Government must demonstrate maturity.