Pupils have their say

AS the impasse between teachers and government nears its third week, since 28th September, the future of pupils from the average Zimbabwean family has been thrust into oblivion, since they are getting no lessons and cannot afford the US$10 for extra lessons charged by private tutors, according to a Twitter video showing Jacob Ngarivhume’s visit to a local school.
The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) opened schools for examination classes on the 28th September 2020 after a lengthy closure from March, in the wake of the COVID- 19 pandemic outbreak.
Since then, government and education stakeholders, teachers included, have been squabbling on the continuation of the 2020 examinations and reopening of schools for both examination and non-examination classes, this year, as teachers warned their employer they would not be reporting for duty unless their salaries were improved and a COVID- 19 allowances was also factored in the negotiating conditions, as was also demanded by striking nurses.
Now, schools have opened, but its only students attending, especially in public schools.
A student who speaks in the video expresses her concern for her future and that of her siblings and fellow mates in the wake of the standoff between teachers and the government.
“Our parents are civil servants, they do not have money to send us for extra lessons being charged at US$10, of which, in our family, most of us are still at school. I have a brother in Form 4 and another in Form 6.
“My brother who is in a boarding school requires ZWL$36 000 in school fees, while I need ZWL$6 000…. In the end, my parents will be left with no money because they will also need rent money, water bills, food and many others costs… it won’t (the money) be enough,” she exclaimed.
Ngarivhume pleaded with authorities to give an ear to teachers’ plight in order to address the situation. He added that teacher bodies, unions and stakeholders, and even parents, to come together and find a lasting solution to the issue.
Last week, videos of school children imitating sexual dances at schools premises went viral on social media, as pupils have become redundant since teachers are not coming to school, as their quest for a salary increment to US$520 per month and other demands are yet to be approved by the government.

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