Teachers in Zimbabwe have described the holding of public examinations in June this year as risky.
The country’s examinations body announced that national Ordinary and Advanced level examinations will start on Tuesday, June 30th.
But educators are concerned that holding the examinations without addressing prevention measures may expose both candidates and invigilators to the Covid-19 pandemic.
To date, Zimbabwe has 222 confirmed cases and 4 deaths.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou says the announcement of the midyear examinations timetable was ill-advised.
“The safety of learners and teachers must be catered for. Currently, we do not have personal protective equipment in schools. We have not designed how more than 600 thousand candidates as well as 136 thousand teachers will conduct the examinations,” he added.
“So, to simply put a timetable without considering the welfare of both teachers and learners is a non-starter.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu believes authorities are not concerned with students and teachers’ welfare.
“The examinations body has clearly shown that it does not care about the health and safety of both the learners and the teachers as it has also not announced any supporting measures to facilitate to ensure stakeholders are not exposed to Covid-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, the same teachers have conducted an online poll on schools’ opening.
A total of 1681 people participated in the poll. 51.1 percent of the respondents were teachers while 48.9 percent were of other professions.
Teachers’ unions in Zimbabwe have agreed in encouraging government to delay reopening schools until it is safe for learners and teachers.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Ndlovu says the main question on the poll was, should we open schools now?
“86,8 percent of respondents were against reopening, 7,3 percent said yes while 5,9 percent said maybe,” read part of the results.
As to why schools should not open most respondents said Covid-19 seems to be on the rise in terms of infections. They also believe that winter will increase the number of infections.