Thursday, 30 April 2020

TEACHERS DEMAND PPEs BEFORE SCHOOLS RE-OPENING


TEACHERS have written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the government setting tough conditions for the re-opening of schools. 

The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) wrote to Mnangagwa while Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) submitted their position paper to the Primary and Secondary Education ministry.

The teachers demanded Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for all teachers and learners.

“It is a fact that sooner or later, schools are going to re-open. We are, therefore, proposing the following minimum conditions to be in place as much as is practically possible when schools re-open: The ministry should ensure that all teachers and learners have all necessary PPEs of the very minimal standard such as disposable gloves and re-usable masks,” PTUZ  said in their position paper. 

“There should also be adequate test kits for all schools, no matter how remote they are from urban centres.”

PTUZ said before schools re-open, teachers should be trained on handling and managing learners and other stakeholders during the course of their duties with a view to eradicating the possibility of transmission of the disease. 

“All schools to be compelled to have sanitisers and thermometers at entry points to the school, every classroom and staffroom.

“The government should pay a meaningful risk allowance to teachers in view of the fact that they are frontline workers in the fight against the disease since it is an uncontestable fact that teachers interact with thousands of children from a diversity of backgrounds per day.”

Teachers must be immediately de-congested through splitting and lowering the current high teacher-pupil ratios in schools. 

“We want to state without any equivocation that our members are not prepared to take the risk of teaching classes with more than 20 learners for nothing as the consequences are dire. As a union, it would be an abdication of responsibility if we sacrifice the lives of our members at the altar of national expediency. 

“The government should subsidise the fees of all learners by at least 50 percent in view of the fact that most parents were unable to scrounge for money during the lockdown. This should be done for at least one term,” PTUZ added.

Recently, permanent secretary in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry Tumisang Thabela said Mnangagwa will announce the re-opening dates of schools.

In a letter to Mnangagwa, Zimta demanded the government to set up a national programme that will educate teachers on to deal with cases of Covid-19 screening at school level, and provide necessary equipment needed to execute the same. 

Zimta added that the government must ensure accessibility of Internet in remote and public schools so that e-learning can be accessed by all during the era of the Covid-19 pandemic. Daily News

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