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Schools not yet ready for re-opening

21 Aug 2020 at 07:45hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) once again announced an exclusionary examinations' calendar. Grade 7, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations are to be conducted this November 2020 as scheduled.

The examinations will be forced down the throats of over 650 000 unprepared learners who had no access to remote learning after COVID-19-induced schools closure on March 24 2020. An average of 32 000 elite learners who enjoyed exclusionary access to online learning will be ready for these apartheid examinations.

The State has adopted an apartheid form of governance under which access to fundamental rights and freedoms is discriminated along class lines. The poor and the majority governed are denied basic rights and freedoms which are a preserve of the ruling elites and at times the rich. The November examinations are a perpetuation of the apartheid system, under which the right to education is now a preserve of the rich minority who have access to online learning.

Examination candidates have lost three solid months of learning time in the critical final year of their studies. They are likely to lose more. Traditionally, these lost months are dedicated to completing the syllabi and embarking on a robust revision process to recall concepts covered in the first academic year of the two-year course. It is practically impossible to frog march these ill-prepared learners into the examination room and expect them to cough out good results. Apart from the minority elite learners, the rest will fail.

The proposal to open schools in September is definitely going to be resisted by the underpaid teachers. Teachers' salaries were illegally slashed from US$520 to the current US$30 per month. It should be noted that schools are not only closed for safety from COVID-19, schools are also closed because teachers are reluctant to report back for duty until their salaries are paid in a stable currency.

Teachers are not going to report for duty in protest of the apartheid salary payment regime, apart from government ministers and senior civil servants no one else is being
paid a salary in a stable currency. More learning time will be lost as the labour dispute rages on, hampering learner preparedness for the November 2020 examinations.
We have tabled proposals to government on offline remote learning. Our proposals were ignored as they were going to benefit the other class.

Our proposal is to move the November examinations to May 2021, to afford learners time to prepare. Government should also urgently attend to our May 4 position paper which detailed a roadmap to safe schools opening. Teacher salaries should be paid in a stable currency to avert a looming job action which will disrupt learning.

We call upon parents, learners and teachers to come together and dismantle the apartheid system of education. The right to education as espoused in section 75 of our Constitution should be respected. The agency of education stakeholders is needed now than ever. Let's unite and protect the right to education.

Down with an apartheid system of education.

Source - ARTUZ Information dept
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