School teachers in Zimbabwe want public examinations scheduled for December 2020 postponed as “very few personnel will manage the process”.
The teachers also argue that learners are unprepared having spent over six months away from class to evade Covid-19.
Final year students returned to school in late September and many teachers are not reporting for duty citing “incapacitation”.
Whether or not the teachers resume duty hinges on ongoing salary negotiations between civil servants and Government.
Authorities have offered a base salary offer of ZW$13 000 (US$167) against the civil servants’ demand of over US$500.
The Primary and Secondary Education Ministry maintains the examinations will proceed while the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council says “all is set”.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said, “Preliminary indications are that some teachers are unhappy and not motivated by the remuneration offer tabled by Government.
“Hence, we must continue with engagements. This means they will not be available. If that is the manifestation on the ground, then it is advisable not to schedule the exams as there will be very few personnel to manage the process.”
Progressive Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou chipped in: “It is not very clear what examinations must serve. Under normal circumstances, it will be difficult for students to write examinations on a syllabus that they have not covered.”
He continued: “In our view, it was going to be better to find a solution to the impasse and then postpone the examinations to next year.
“The academic year for 2020 can be deferred to first term 2021. Then next year we reduce the terms to two terms, with the first term starting in April. In our view, the logical way is to avoid rushing into examinations.”