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# Self Isolate
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COVID- 19 Kills, remember to care for yourself and others.
ZIMTA is the largest and most influential teacher trade union in Zimbabwe.
ZIMTA is the largest and most influential teacher trade union in Zimbabwe whose mandate is to advocate for the professional and trade union needs of educators. It is committed to improving conditions of service for educators in Zimbabwe
Mission: The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), as the professional organization of teachers in Zimbabwe, is committed to serving the educators trade union, socio-economic and professional needs, as well as advocating for relevant quality public education for all.
Teachers' LIVES matter
# Stay Safe
# Self Isolate
# Maintain Social Distancing
COVID- 19 Kills, remember to care for yourself and others.
STAY SAFE from Corona Virus
Self Isolate, Sanitize, Maintain Social Distancing!
# Teachers and Learners' Lives Matter.
WE want to hear your experiences of conducting exams under the Covid 19 Conditions.
All teachers are encouraged to SPEAK and SHARE experiences using the nearest Representative, Official or Office.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!
You can also write to [email protected] or [email protected] or your provincial office.
Your contributions are important.
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ZIMTA and teachers need each OTHER.
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Court Orders MOPSE and ZIMSEC and Others to Provide PPES and Disinfect Schools by June 26.
Harare....Teachers’ Unions tasted victory in today , as the High Court sitting in chamber of the 17th of June 2020, granted an Order directing the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE), and the Zimbabwe Council of Examinations, (ZIMSEC) and other respondents as listed by all teacher unions, to be responsible for the following:
(a) Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) protocols in all schools and all examination centres on or by the 26th of June 2020
(b) The respondents are to ensure that all schools and Examination Centers are disinfected and timelines for doing so should be provided by the same.
(c) The respondents should provide the necessary thermal testing centres and adequate sanitation on or by 26 June 2020 for Learners, Teachers and Support Personal in all schools and for Candidates in all Examination Centres around Zimbabwe.
(d) The respondents are responsible for taking all steps that ensure that risk to COVID 19 Infections are reduced to minimum levels
High Court Judge Charehwa’s Court Order, comes against a background of a court application done by ZIMTA and 7 other Unions having sought a court order barring or deferring the conducting of examinations in an environment which did not guarantee the health and safety of those involved in the process such as teachers, learners and support staff.
Covid 19 Infections are on the increase in Zimbabwe, with at least 391 cases having been reported as ta 16 June 2020.The country is still under Lock down.
Dr Sifiso Ndlovu , ZIMTA CEO arrives at the High Court to attend to a case where the union is seeking an urgent order which bars ZIMSEC and MOPSE from putting the lives of teachers, learners and personal staff at risk of the COVID 19 infections.
ZIMTA Dismisses ZIMSEC announcement as meaningless
By Staff Reporter
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sifiso Ndlovu, has dismissed the recent June examination dates announcement by Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) as meaningless and an indulgance in risky practices for examination takers and invigilators because of the lack of corresponding preparations on health and safety measures taking place on the ground.
In a telephone interview, Dr Ndlovu said ZIMSEC was acting irresponsibly by trying to transfer the burden of administering safe examination to schools which were already struggling.
“ZIMSEC is acting like it has no responsibility in the way examinations are administered by pushing the buck to schools. At the present moment no school has assembled any health and safety logistics or facilities and the requisite manpower that can support Covid 19 protocols.
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 or protocols that it is going to facilitate to ensure that all stakeholders in the process are not exposed to Covid 19, yet Covid 19 is a real threat, everywhere, and especially in Zimbabwean Schools,"he said.
The ZIMTA CEO also highlighted that there were also other unresolved administrative issues as well discussions pertaining to examiners allowances which needed clarification before the sitting of examinations.
“The issue of examiners allowances has not yet been concluded, and more so the heightened risk posed by Covid 19 is a cause for concern which ZIMSEC has to clarify to ensure the smooth flow of the examination process. Clearly speaking ZIMSEC has not made anything easier for us and is making all these announcements.
The ministry has not yet announced dates of re-opening schools yet ZIMSEC is already announcing dates creating the question who is subordinate to the other, ZIMSEC or the ministry? Schools belong to the ministry not ZIMSEC.” Ndlovu said
Commenting on the way forward Dr Ndlovu said the announcement is not implementable and therefore it will probably be disobeyed.
The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council has set new dates for the June examinations with the ordinary level set to run from30 June to July 20, while the advanced level session will begin on 30 June and end on 23 July as per a recent press release.
Follow ZIMTA CEO Dr Sifiso Ndlovu tomorrow via Zoom as he unpacks our position paper " De-escalating the school lockdown in the COVID19 era and the New Normal"
ZIMTA would like to thank all those who participated in our google survey "SPEAK OUT ON RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS". 51.1% of the respondents were teachers while 48.9 were of other professions. A comprehensive 86.9% said schools should not re-open now. This is inline with our stance which we delivered yesterday in Parliament that schools should only open when minimum health and safety standards have been met.
Supplementary Education Budget necessary for schools to Re-open: ZIMTA
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has appealed to the Government to significantly increase the education budget if schools are to meet the minimum health and safety requirements necessary for re-opening as educators have vowed not to return to classes until their safety is guaranteed.
Speaking after giving oral evidence before the Priscilla Misiharambwi Mushonga led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and secondary education, ZIMTA President and delegation leader Mr Richard Gundane said the additional budgetary allocation would facilitate capacitation of teachers, learners as well as the institutions to ensure the safe re-opening of schools.
“Our presentation was mainly centred on increasing the education budgetary allocation as a conduit to enable government to meet its obligations before schools re-open. Capacitation of teachers would involve training teachers on handling COVID 19, cater for risk allowances, provision of PPEs, recruitment of in excess of 10 000 additional teachers as well the return of the USD 520 salary since we have re-dollarized in this COVID 19 era.”
“Improved school infrastructure and amenities in preparation for schools re-opening will ensure that we meet the World Health Organisations safety standards concerning social distancing. Most of our schools would need to purchase additional furniture as well as provision of temporary classes for social distancing to be possible.” He said
In regards to capacitation of learners Gundane said availability of PPEs was key if classes were to be safely conducted with exposing learners to harm.
“Parents and schools cannot afford PPEs and the additional budgetary allocation will ensure that learners have access to these necessary items. Equipment like thermometers and sanitizers would be also covered. To this effect we gave parliament regional and international case studies.”
Gundane also appealed to Government to heavily invest into e-learning which is the alternative during this COVID 19 period.
“Government through this additional budgetary allocation would be able to capacitate both leaners and teachers to engage in remote learning. This should see government investing in ICT equipment and other enablers to ensure that both rural and urban learners can equally access the facility. Outside of that embracing e-learning will prove to be very difficult.”
The ZIMTA President also revealed the Union was against case by case evaluation of schools for re-opening, favouring uniformity.
“The committee quizzed us about our thoughts on whether private schools which could meet the safety requirements on their own should open and we said no. We are in support of uniformity as well as an education system that does not further disadvantage the already disadvantaged communities.”
ZIMTA’s appearance in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education comes after the Government had announced plans to pre-maturely re-open schools without consulting key stakeholders such as Zimta.
Good evening ladies and Gentlemen, This evening we are launching a google survey entitled “Speak out on Reopening of schools” it’s an online survey and the link will be open up to 31 May. We will use the outcome of the survey to support our advocacy campaign during this Covid19 period. Please open the link and complete the survey questions and also share it with other Zimta members, other teachers and or parents. Submit your response on line it’s very simple. Thank you in advance for responding to the survey and sharing the link: Dr. Sifiso Ndlovu Zimta CEO
The Non- Negotiable Conditions are HERE
HERE are the Non- Negotiable Conditions.
Teachers and Learners not Ready to die....
Open Letter to the Government of Zimbabwe.
To whom it may Concern,
Opening of schools is premature, It will NOT WORK.
The recent announcement by the Head of State, President Emmerson Mnangagwa regarding the reopening of schools to examination classes has left most forward thinking educationists shell shocked. Re-opening of schools whilst hordes of people from the diaspora are being bused in from Covid 19 infested regions might be just as good as opening Pandora’s box.
Sadly, this announcement is in direct conflict with the situation obtaining on the ground where schools are being used as Covid 19 quarantine centres. This raises the simple question, where are these classes expected to be carried out if these institutions are being used as quarantine centres? The quarantine process of returnees has been marred by the huge influx of boarder jumpers who are taking advantage of some of the countries' porous boarder posts, leaving the country vulnerable to further infections.
Taking a closer look at the Zimbabwean education set up vis -a- vis the World Health Organisation guidelines on social distancing, we can already see that there is conflict. Average classes have a teacher to pupil ratio of about 1: 60 and such a large class cannot ensure effective social distancing. The alternative would be to split the class which in turn requires the employment of another teacher. Without effective social distancing in schools, these institutions will easily turn into high infection zones with catastrophic results. Government needs to attend to that before there is any talk of re-opening schools.
Availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in schools is another area of concern. Looking at the way Government has handled industry by merely giving instruction without the financial backing in regards to the issue of testing employees, leaves a lot to be desired. Schools most of which have dried up coffers are in no position to avail PPEs to Educators and pupils leaving this burden in the hands of Government. Other schools of thought are encouraging the government to transfer the burden of PPEs to parents however the extended lockdown has left most households poorer than before as all informal traders are still banned from conducting any business activities.
Teachers who are the main characters in the administration of classes lack the technical and critical skills regarding the detection and handling of Covid 19 cases. Just like we have witnessed unequipped frontline nurses losing their lives in the fight against Covid 19, the same could easily happen to Teachers as they interact with children from various homes and backgrounds. Before schools re-open, Teachers in all their wisdom need to be trained in effectively and safely handling themselves as well as their students in regards to Covid 19. Whichever way you want to look at it, no teacher training on handling Covid 19, no classes, this is simply a non negotiable issue.
Temperature screening and hand sanitizing has been made mandatory at all entrances in all institutions, however this comes at a cost. Schools in this regard need to have someone who will be dedicated to this task which is another cost the Government is expected to cater for. As the testing happens, proper guidelines in regards to the handling of suspected cases need to be in place and made available to schools well before they open. As we speak there is nothing of that sort.
In conclusion, everything else considered,the Government is hereby called upon to sit down with the relevant health and education authorities as well as to consult widely before opening Pandora’s box. With Covid 19 cases on the rise daily and the flu season being upon us, this will turn out to one of the worst decisions ever. Zimbabwe’s capacity to test, trace contacts, isolate and treat patients is still way below pandemic standards and the premature opening of schools can result in more infections against an already weak health system.
ZIMBABWE TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION (ZIMTA)
Press Release: 11 MAY 2020
Increase educating funding to ease overcrowding in schools.
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association, (ZIMTA), is calling on the government to ensure that funding for education is increased during and after the Covid 19 pandemic.
This call comes amidst observations that schools are understaffed as a result of the ban on employment of teachers imposed by government in the recent past. Resultantly, schools have been operating without the required staff compliments, and in some cases teachers’ workload was increased. However the most undesirable effect of all this has been the huge class sizes, which has resulted in overcrowded classrooms.
In the wake of the Covid 19 Pandemic, overcrowded classrooms will not work, therefore the need to employ more qualified teachers in order to ensure that smaller groups of learners may continue to benefit from delivery of quality public education.
On average several public schools around the country were operating with a ratio of one teacher to sixty learners, (1:60). Because this is unsustainable for the provision of quality public education and more importantly for the effecting of social distances in schools, the situation will have to change.
Ideal situations would require that teacher to pupil ratios are adjusted to (1: 35) in primary schools whereas in secondary schools, the ratios would have to be adjusted to one teacher for twenty learners, (1:20).
Consequently adjusting to these levels will require that Government of Zimbabwe, who is the major guarantor of quality public education for all, must as a matter of urgency employ more qualified teachers to improve staffing levels especially in the public schools.
According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE), there are at least 130 000 qualified teachers, currently operating in Zimbabwe. At least 4.5 million learners are found in more than 9000 Primary and Secondary Schools countrywide.
Increased funding in the education sector will also save to ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided during the Covid 19 pandemic period , for all without limitations.
05 MAY 2020
What Must Be Done Before Schools Open
Today, the corona- virus pandemic threat is worse than before with numbers of positive cases including fatal cases being on an upward trend. It is against this backdrop, that educators , being on the frontline to the provision of quality public education, which is also a human right for every citizen , have raised the following concerns;
Educators are convinced that the Covid 19 situation is not yet under control because the signs on the ground indicate that the situation could be getting worse. Meanwhile, the assessment done shows that there is inadequate preparation to deal with the pandemic. Unlike elsewhere, where door to door testing and screening is being done, citizens have to rely on statistics being given by the ministry of health, yet more efforts could be done, to assist people to cope, such as disinfecting communities and establishing voluntary testing centers at all shopping centers, community centers countrywide, and schools are definitely not to be left out.
Consequently, it goes without saying that ,educators are yet to witness any unique, outstanding efforts of dealing with Covid 19 issues in schools that may warrant the reopening of schools soon. As far as Educators are concerned, the following issues should be addressed as conditions for schools to re-open.
1. The Corona virus spread may infiltrate schools, and when this happens, does the nation have the necessary equipment and protection to deal with the potential outbreak?
In order to do this, Government needs to:
Procure thousands of bottles of hand sanitizers to be distributed for use in every school.
Each individual learner is to be supplied with a mask and gloves on a daily basis, which should also be replaceable at any particular time, and the Government must procure these for use at every station, for every learner, in all provinces.
Temperature kits must be procured in huge numbers and must be distributed at every station before schools open
2. The current classrooms are overcrowded, having a Teacher: Pupil ratio of 1: 70 on average. Has the government addressed the issue of huge class sizes yet?
This is indeed fertile ground for corona virus to spread, the Government needs to do the following,
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education must put in place measures to ensure that there will be social distancing by reducing class sizes
It must give guidance on who is going to monitor this social distancing?
As a matter of urgency, classes sizes must be re-organized during this lock down, so that should attendance and learning commence, class sizes are already reduced , manageable and enabling for social distancing to occur
The Ministry must publicize all measures that have been put in place to ensure that learners do not contract the virus when they get t schools on the opening day, this is an urgent matter.
3. What is the distribution pattern of temperature-test kits for schools?
The Ministry must publicize the number of Temperature Test Kits available, and their distribution trends so far per school?, and also inform educators about how these will be administered and who shall be responsible for testing learners on a daily basis before, during and after school lessons or periods?
What programs do we have to test learners on a daily basis?
How will learners on public transport systems be protected?
What happens when learners are affected in a particular school?
Does the school close down immediately, what then becomes the fate of the rest of the learners?
4. Has Government given the green light for the employment of more qualified teachers?
Before schools open, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education needs to ensure that educators’ numbers are boosted, this should be done in conjunction with the ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare, as a matter of urgency:
Precisely the government must lift the ban on the employment of government school teachers in order to cater for the current undesirable situation of overcrowding in schools which is fertile for the spread of Covid 19
5. Will government publish some guidelines for schools to follow on the handling of Covid 19 cases.
Educators are eager to know how corona virus issues will be handled in schools, should the lock down be lifted in schools, for instance;
Will learners have special hospitals, clinics and isolation centers, and if so, alist of selected clinics and hospitals should be availed in the press and to all schools.
Are there any teachers that are being trained to handle Covid 19 cases within school premises?
Furthermore, the number of trained nurses and or doctors that shall be on standby in every school premises for the duration of the pandemic must be published
6. What measures has government put in place to ensure that there shall be running water at every school for the duration of the school term?
Learners are required to frequently wash hands with running water and soap, Can they do so? What has government done in both rural and urban schools?
7. Do we have a counseling services team on standby, which will address issues of stress, disharmony and or any others effects that may arise during the School Term and Covid 19 era.
8. As schools re-open, how do we ensure that there is no contact sports are suspended, within the school premises?
Should we consider the recruitment of law enforcement agencies in schools, e.g. police or soldiers to enforce social distancing and physical distancing?
9. Can the Ministry provide Step by Step guidance materials or information packs that can guide teachers and learners on how to conduct themselves during lessons on and off school campuses, that should effectively ensure that learners and teachers and ultimately parents will not be infected with Corona Virus and more importantly, what steps they should take, in the event that they get infected?
10. Finally, what will happen should an entire school request quarantine services, is the Ministry Primary and Secondary Education, prepared for such scenarios?
11. Is the risk of prematurely opening schools worth it?
In conclusion, we want to reiterate that given the obtaining situation, where the basic personal protective equipment of dealing with corona virus is not being accessed by all, schools cannot be declared open for business. This will only put lives of Educators and learners at risk, and in addition, reverse the gains made so far in flattening the curve of the corona virus spread in Zimbabwe.
For further inquiries, contact the Communications and International Relations Officer on 0772 565 879 or write to [email protected]: page Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association.Follow us @zimta01
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