Zimbabwe’s teachers on Friday petitioned Parliament to ensure that their safety is guaranteed in schools amid rising coronavirus infections.
The educators handed over their petition during a meeting with two MPs, 50 teachers and two school dropouts in Harare. Part of the petition read:
We the teachers of Zimbabwe, organising under the ‘Save Our Education’, are worried about the massive spreading of COVID-19 in schools, angered by the slave wages we are receiving, infuriated by the government’s failure to pay invigilation allowances, enslaved by the 12% towards education in the 2022 budget.
We are shocked to learn that almost 50% of prospective 2021 candidates failed to enrol for examinations and the high numbers of school dropouts due to poverty, leading to early child marriages with 60% of pupils dropping out of schools.
There are also reports of intimidation of teachers by politicians in some rural schools, especially in Gutu District, Masvingo Province.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Association of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure told NewsDay Weekender that there is a plan to remove all teachers perceived to be anti-ZANU PF from Gutu.
This comes after Chief Serima (born Vengai Rushwaya) and Gutu West MP John Paradza (ZANU PF) John Paradza allegedly ordered Batsiranayi Ngugama, a teacher at Serima High School in Gutu, to find another school as he is considered a “security threat” at his current school.
The politicians are reportedly working in cahoots with Gutu District Schools Inspector (DSI), Ronald Muganhu. Paradza, however, denied the allegations.
ZANU PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said he was not aware of reports of persecution of teachers, saying the party has neither control nor influence over the running of ministries.