The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has in a statement slammed the government’s decision to reopen schools without adequately catering for the safety and welfare needs of both teachers and students.
In their statement the Union, also hightlights many concerns including the salary discrepancies which are supposedly a ‘product of Presidential prerogative’.
PTUZ demanded that the mandatory Covid-19 testing before resumption of Parliamentary sittings that was initiated for legislators be also applied before reopening of schools.
The statement further made it clear that the teachers will not succumb to any threats that will seek to force them back to work before their grievances are attended to.
*Below is the full statement:
As Ptuz we reiterate our long held view that the health, safety and welfare of teachers and pupils must be met before reopening of schools.
The same gvt that has made it mandatory for parliamentarians to undergo mandatory covid-19 testing before resumption of sitting must ensure the same applies to reopening of schools. Over and above this, the recent salary discrepancies that are reportedly ‘a product of Presidential prerogative’ must be corrected and teacher-salaries’ purchasing power parity restored to October 2018 rate pegged at US$550.
Whatever act or day may be considered as marking the re-opening of schools, it must consider to address the health, safety and welfare issues first. No amount of threat, brutality and Apex Council romance and thuggery with gvt can change this reality. Teachers will never salivate at any poisoned carrot to entice them to report for duty. It is our hope that gvt would listen to professional advice we are freely giving as concerned teachers with a national mandate to deliver quality public education under good environment. We remain ready to open schools any day but subject to putting health, safety and welfare of teachers and pupils first.
Hap-hazardous meddling and muddling reopening of schools would be resisted. Teachers are their own liberators. Let the unity of purpose be cemented at all levels in preparation for a just resistance to poverty and penury.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)