Teachers marking 2021 Grade Seven examinations have accused the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) of double standards when it comes to enforcing COVID-19 prevention measures.
ZIMSEC last week wrote a memo advising all examiners to be tested for coronavirus before the marking exercise which started this Monday.
The examiners are expected to pay for the tests, with a PCR COVID-19 test costing around US$60.
Examiners, however, claim that ZIMSEC forced teachers to invigilate students last year without the COVID-19 tests certificates and it was disingenuous for ZIMSEC to ask for them when they were about to start marking the papers. A teacher who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com said:
ZIMSEC is now pretending to be concerned about our health yet they forced us to invigilate students without these COVID-19 tests certificates.
A lot of teachers contracted COVID-19 while invigilating students last year.
Why didn’t they enforce these measures when we were invigilating the examinations last year?
The examiner said he will not take part in the marking exercise until ZIMSEC clarified on who is going to pay for the testing costs. Another examiner said:
Invigilation was the riskiest period where a lot of teachers got infected. ZIMSEC refused to pay us invigilation fees but now they want to shortchange us by demanding COVID-19 certificates which they failed to ask for during the crucial stage.
Where does ZIMSEC expect us to get the US$60 and transport money for the testing? We are not even paid such money per day for the marking services. I would rather not mark the examinations than undergo those expensive tests.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure urged teachers to refuse to mark the papers until ZIMSEC offers them contracts guaranteeing their safety.
The marking of Grade Seven examinations was delayed last December due to the COVID-19 pandemic and prospective Form One pupils had been informed that they will not be coming to school on 10 January before the Government deferred schools opening indefinitely.