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Supplementary Education Budget necessary for schools to Re-open: ZIMTA

by Staff Reporter
01 Jun 2020 at 15:45hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has appealed to the Government to significantly increase the education budget if schools are to meet the minimum health and safety requirements necessary for re-opening as educators have vowed not to return to classes until their safety is guaranteed.

Speaking after giving oral evidence before the Priscilla Misiharambwi Mushonga led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and secondary education, ZIMTA President and delegation leader Mr Richard Gundane said the additional budgetary allocation would facilitate capacitation of teachers, learners as well as the institutions to ensure the safe re-opening of schools.

"Our presentation was mainly centred on increasing the education budgetary allocation as a conduit to enable government to meet its obligations before schools re-open. Capacitation of teachers would involve training teachers on handling COVID 19, cater for risk allowances, provision of PPEs, recruitment of in excess of 10 000 additional teachers as well the return of the USD 520 salary since we have re-dollarized in this COVID 19 era."

"Improved school infrastructure and amenities in preparation for schools re-opening will ensure that we meet the World Health Organisations safety standards concerning social distancing. Most of our schools would need to purchase additional furniture as well as provision of temporary classes for social distancing to be possible." He said

In regards to capacitation of learners Gundane said availability of PPEs was key if classes were to be safely conducted with exposing learners to harm.

"Parents and schools cannot afford PPEs and the additional budgetary allocation will ensure that learners have access to these necessary items.  Equipment like thermometers and sanitizers would be also covered. To this effect we gave parliament regional and international case studies."

Gundane also appealed to Government to heavily invest into e-learning which is the alternative during this COVID 19 period.

"Government through this additional budgetary allocation would be able to capacitate both leaners and teachers to engage in remote learning. This should see government investing in ICT equipment and other enablers to ensure that both rural and urban learners can equally access the facility. Outside of that embracing e-learning will prove to be very difficult."

The ZIMTA President also revealed the Union was against case by case evaluation of schools for re-opening, favouring uniformity.

"The committee quizzed us about our thoughts on whether private schools which could meet the safety requirements on their own should open and we said no. We are in support of uniformity as well as an education system that does not further disadvantage the already disadvantaged communities."

ZIMTA's appearance in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education comes after the Government had announced plans to pre-maturely re-open schools without consulting key stakeholders such as Zimta.

Source - Staff Reporter