Teachers say the government should meet their demands for invigilation allowances than threaten them with punitive action.
The Public Service Commission and Primary and Secondary Education have instructed teachers to invigilate exams or face serious consequences for not complying.
The teachers want to be paid for invigilating the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) end-of-year examinations and met with the Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu to press their case.
Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) president Tafadzwa Munodawafa said it was unfair for the government to threaten teachers instead of meeting their demands.
“As Educators Union of Zimbabwe, we feel that it is unfortunate that the government resorts to using threats. Essentially, the plight of the teacher is now well documented and it is known by any random person in society,” told 98.4FM News.
Munodawafa said that teachers` salaries had been weakened by inflation and added: “instead of threatening we would recommend that instead, the government addresses this plight.”
Dr. Takavafira Zhou, president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said the impasse and friction between teachers and the government was undermining the quality of the country`s education.
“When the resources are not there and when teachers are angry and apprehensive and therefore are not innovated and dynamic. So, the whole essence is we are failing to invest in quality public education and ultimately we are all failing to engage in social dialogue…”
A recent meeting between the government, ZIMSEC and teachers over the payment for invigilating examinations resulted in a deadlock. The government has threatened ‘grave consequences’ for teachers who do not invigilate public examinations.
In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Tumisang Tabela, Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, the Public Service Commission (PSC) Secretary said teachers who refused to invigilate examinations would face serious consequences.
“In view of the foregoing, teachers should be informed that refusal or neglecting to invigilate examinations amounts to a breach of their employment contract and this has grave consequences for those who contemplate such actions,” read the letter from Wutawunashe.
According to the letter, a teacher`s employment contract “requires” them to be involved in the “administration and marking of examinations.”
“The Head of the Ministry is being remanded to make it clear to teachers that their employment contract requires them to participate in the administration and marking of examinations. Invigilation is part of administering examinations,” it said.
The primary and secondary education ministry has since issued a memorandum to Provincial Education Directors directing them to inform teachers of the costs of refusing to invigilate examinations.
In the memo, dated 30 November 2021 and signed by the Human Resources Director Learnson Tagara, the PEDs are instructed to “remind” and “sensitise” teachers of the repercussions for not taking part in the invigilation of examinations.
“…. In view of the above, Provincial Education Directors should remind their structures of these duties and sensitise of the consequences of refusing to take part in the administration of examinations. Please ensure that all your structures are in receipt of this critical information,” read part of the letter.
The ZIMSEC examinations started this week with Grade 7 pupils.