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Govt accuses teachers of trying to sabotage education system – The Zimbabwe Mail

Taungana Ndoro

GOVERNMENT yesterday accused teachers of presiding over the collapse of the education system by refusing to invigilate the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) “O” and “A” Level examinations for free.

The examinations are set to start today, but the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), the Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (Zinatu) and the Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) have declared that their members would not invigilate if government was not going to pay them for the service.

Zimbabwe’s largest teachers’ union Zimta, yesterday said it would attend a National Joint Negotiation Council meeting today, whose outcome would determine whether its members would withdraw their services from the Zimsec examination process.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro yesterday told NewsDay that if teachers withdraw their services, government will use “anyone” to invigilate the examinations.

Ndoro also claimed that there were many teachers that were not affiliated to unions, who could supervise the examinations for free.

Last year, government resorted to using school ancillary staff and villagers to invigilate after teachers refused to supervise the examinations citing poor working conditions and non-payment for the service.

Last week, the teachers notified government that they would not invigilate the Zimsec examinations if the employer was not paying for the service.

The Public Service Commission, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and Zimsec have all denied the responsibility for paying teachers.

Yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education ministry secretary Tumisang Thabela declined to comment, and referred questions to Ndoro, who claimed that 82% of the teachers in the country were not affiliated to any union and would invigilate for free.

“All Zimbabweans understand that teaching is a noble profession and that our teachers, despite whatever union they represent, are selfless and always ready to go to any extent to help their learners.  It gives them a great feeling of self-satisfaction when they see their learners achieve in life,” he said.

“However, in today’s world, the word ‘noble’ is misused by the likes of leaders of Artuz, Zinatu and the one-man-band EUZ. As for the second-largest teachers union in Zimbabwe, PTUZ, we respect that their teachers stretch themselves to help their learners without unreasonable expectation.

“They remain noble together with a host of non-unionised teachers that we are confident will invigilate exams with no immediate extra benefits because they are doing a noble profession.”

On Friday, Ndoro told NewsDay that withdrawal of invigilating services by teachers had no impact as “anyone” could invigilate the examinations. He said teachers should not derive motivation to perform their duties from salaries.

“We value all teachers who will not boycott invigilation as they are cognisant that their reward for the service is the happiness and satisfaction they will derive in being recognised by their learners even years after they benefited from their teaching and invigilation. These two aspects — delight and recognition — are possible only if teachers are committed to their profession at a level that is beyond the influence of remuneration.”

But the unions accused government of using divide and rule tactics to dissuade them from fighting for a common cause.

“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is no longer concerned about the quality of services they are providing. It has ceased to care about the situation in the education system. It is my view that the authorities are sabotaging the current government,” Artuz president Obert Masaraure.

“We are aware that for some years, education had been the pillar of Zimbabwe’s success story, but it has been reduced to tatters. If government fails in education, it has failed in everything. That is the drive with those that do not want the country to prosper.

“They are putting the success of the country under threat by sabotaging the education sector. Teachers will not stop demanding better salaries despite the divide and rule tactic. We still stand by our position that without contracts, no invigilation tomorrow (today).”

EUZ secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said: “The (Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education) can go ahead and contract ‘anyone’, who will provide invigilation services for free. Fortunately, our professional teachers are not ‘anyone’, hence are determined to avoid providing a professional service to an external entity that does not pay them. Most of them will be relieved that MoPSE [Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education] is now engaging a guy called ‘anyone’ who will invigilate all examinations across the country. ‘Anyone’ will invigilate examinations while our professional teachers will not. Teachers have already made up their mind.”

PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said government’s failure to address concerns of teachers was compromising the quality and standards of education.

“That examinations could be invigilated by anyone is the highest contempt for teachers and their value that has ever been subjected to them,” he said.

“That contempt for teachers has taken us to where we are today. This is why the education system has been systematically vandalised. The trash talk is totally unacceptable.-Newsda

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Odisha govt plans development of colleges – Times of India

The Biju Pattnaik College Of Science & Education

BHUBANESWAR: After starting work on transformation of schools, the state government has rolled out an institutional mechanism called district college development facilitation centres for development of higher secondary and higher education sectors.
Chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Friday directed collectors of all districts to operationalise these centres for addressing the problems encountered by colleges. While conducting a district-wise review of these centres, Mahapatra said the development of colleges is a priority of the government and collectors must be directly involved in the process.
He also asked the collectors to look into the major issues including settlement of land in the name of colleges, separation of Plus-II wing from the degree colleges, expedited implementation of development projects in the colleges, proper utilisation of government funds given under different schemes and development of academic ecosystem on the campus.
Collectors were directed to convene meetings with different colleges for having a first-hand assessment of their problems and accordingly prioritise those according to the guidelines issued by the higher education department.
Higher education secretary Saswat Mishra said direct involvement of the collectors and district administrations will easily resolve many ground-level issues.


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Bihar government to recruit 4,600 teachers in colleges: Minister – Times of India

PATNA: Altogether 4,600 teachers will be appointed in the colleges to help in timely completion of courses and conducting examination on time, education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary on Friday said in the Vidhan Parishad.
He also said 6,421 posts of Vidyalaya Sahayak (school assistants) have been created for works related to computers and other fields.
Choudhary was replying to a starred question raised by RJD MLC Ram Chandra Purbey, who said the students were suffering because of delay in completion of courses.
Purbey cited the example of the B R Ambedkar Bihar University in Muzaffarpur and said 60,000 students could not apply for the 4335 posts of POs and management trainees because of delay in holding examination of the 2018-21 batch.
The minister said all the vice-chancellors and registrars, in a meeting at Raj Bhavan recently, were instructed to complete the courses on time.
To another short-notice question raised by MLC Sanjeev Kumar Singh, the education minister said his department has created 6,421 posts of school assistants and computer literacy has been made mandatory for their appointment. Choudhary said the induction of these assistants will help in carrying out several duties.
Singh pointed out that teachers have to be engaged in various works like enrolment and registration of new students, issuing admit cards and other works in the absence of school assistants and clerks. He further said the teachers had to go to cybercafé for completing the works as many schools do not have computer facilities.
Choudhary also said a software was being developed to have a record of land availability of schools and instructions have been given to get the encroachments on educational premises removed.
Exchange of couplets: The last day of winter session witnessed exchange of couplets between education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary and Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra after a question regarding the status of Maithili teaching. When Mishra read out an Urdu poem, Choudhary replied in a poetic way. Choudhary said the state government was serious about Maithli education and 55 teachers were working while 114 posts of teachers had been created in senior secondary schools. He further said 49 teachers were appointed at the college level.

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Govt must stop abusing COVID-19 regulations – NewsDay

THE Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) rejects the knee-jerk, irrational and unscientific imposition of adjusted national lockdown regulations under Statutory Instrument 267 of 2021. This follows the recent discovery of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa and Botswana.

As part of the measures, a daily curfew was imposed from 9pm to 6am, while shops were directed to open for business from 7am and close by 7pm.

The regulations also require all returning residents and visitors to undergo PCR testing and those found to be negative will be quarantined at their own cost for 10 days, while those who are found positive will be isolated in accordance with the provisions of the principal order.

These regulations are the clearest yet sign that government is using the cover the COVID-19 pandemic to push an ulterior agenda which we strongly believe to be centred on its quest to stifle free and legitimate operations of citizens trying to recover from the effects of the same pandemic on their livelihoods.

The latest regulations were initially announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 30, 2021 ostensibly to avert threats of a fourth wave in Zimbabwe.

While we appreciate government’s efforts at containing the pandemic as prescribed in the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on handling the new Omicron variant, we are concerned that the new measures are disproportionate to our situation as a country and seem not based on any scientific logic.

The latest WHO recommendations on the new variant encourage authorities to enhance surveillance and genomic sequencing efforts and urge them to continue reminding communities and individuals to continue adhering to the “tried and tested” protocols already in use.

The latest regulations are surprising given that the government’s post-cabinet briefings of November 16 and 30, 2021 assured the nation that the COVID-19 pandemic was “under control” in the country following several days with few or no reported deaths and few new infections.

The Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights is in agreement with government’s assessment based on the fact that the national positive rate in the last three to four weeks has been less than 2,5%.

WHO ratings project that a positive rate of more than 5% signifies a pandemic out of control and anything below 5% is a well-controlled pandemic.

Ironically, WHO and health experts are reportedly convinced that the new strain is “super mild” and has, so far, not led to a surge in COVID-19 death rates anywhere in southern Africa, urging countries to drop travel restrictions and end the mass hysteria associated with the new Omicron variant.

Additionally, Zimbabwe has been singled out as one of the few African countries that has implemented a successful COVID-19 response strategy that has been applauded by the WHO.

Given the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy as well as the livelihoods of many of our citizens, the latest measures are surprising as they peg back the nation from realising a quick recovery to the pandemic-induced economic backslide.

Unemployment in Zimbabwe is estimated at over 90%, with many citizens relying on the informal economy to sustain their livelihoods. It is these citizens who will face the brunt of these unjustified regulations.

The limiting of operating times for business will affect actors in both the formal and informal economic sectors, which will inevitably peg back any economic recovery efforts.

We would have expected the government to be concentrating on ramping up its vaccination drive, which has gradually stalled and is way behind projected targets.

Getting herd immunity through vaccination has been identified as one of the quickest ways of ensuring full opening up of the economy so that citizens can return to their normal life routines and secure their livelihoods.

We are worried that enforcement of COVID-19 regulations has often been used as cover for gross rights violations with the army and police brutalising citizens for violating the regulations.

Since March 2020, it has become quite apparent that COVID-19 regulations in Zimbabwe have been used to entrench authoritarian rule and violate citizens’ fundamental rights through the imposition of restrictions without proper any justified scientific basis. -CiZC

Parly must craft national disability policy

VENDORS Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation today commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities under the theme Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities Toward an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID-19 World.

This year’s event comes on the backdrop of continued vulnerability for this sector of our population owing to the ravages of COVID-19 with no support from Government and its agencies.

Not only have our members been deprived of support, but containment measures such as vaccination and associated publicity campaigns, people with disabilities have been  left out, yet sign language is recognised as part of the country’s 16 official languages.

According to a Unesco Rapid Assessment report of November 2020, on the effects of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities asserted that the majority of persons with disabilities (PWDs) survive on informal sector activities such as vending and begging on the streets.

People with disabilities faced significant difficulties to access support from government, non-governmental organisations and private individuals owing to travel restrictions imposed by the government during the lockdown period.

Mary Mushayi, a PWD in a report of December 2020, said when borders are closed, relatives cannot send groceries to them and they are unable to move around to collect parcels owing to transport challenges compounded by the ban on commuter omnibuses.

For Viset, this sector is a critical component of the informal economy as many persons with disabilities derive their living from the sector due to the fact that there are less barriers to entry as many of them are deprived of formal education.

A walk in the central business district will confirm this assertion, yet government and local authorities have no plan to ensure this constituency is accommodated in accessible buildings and facilities such as public toilets and transport.

Viset calls for the enactment into an act of Parliament the National Disability Policy that was launched by the President in June 2021.

We also call upon all policing authorities to be trained in communication and interaction of persons with disabilities and cessation of the heavy handedness that is applied to the sector in raids. -Viset

IN response to Omicron hits Zimbabwe, THANDIZINTO says: Zimbabweans have to be vigilant in fighting the new COVID-19 variant, as well as other variants to come. I am slowly getting inclined towards thinking that COVID-19 is some kind of biological warfare.

IN response to No US$ bonus for nurses, NDABANENGI says: Government is not being fair. It should treat all its employees in an equal manner. Every one of its employees plays an integral role in the day-to-day running of government business. The authorities are feigning confusion, yet I believe this was a calculated move. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is playing games with the people. In actual fact, why should we keep such people in power? They should be kicked out come 2023 elections.

IN response to Exams invigilation: Govt reads riot act, PIKIRAYI says: The education sector is in a state of decay, and government is not doing anything to correct the anomaly. In fact, the authorities are pretending as if everything is normal. I believe they are telling themselves that the next leaders will fix this mess. The funny thing is that now I am 33 years old, the same people who are leaders now were leaders when I was born, and they were telling us that we were the future leaders. Surprisingly, they are still in power and messing up the country.

IN response to Zec bemoans paltry budgetary allocation, MAKHELWANE says: Whether it gets more money or not to run elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) does not have the capacity to produce credible election results. It is an extension of the Zanu PF regime. Zec failed to proclaim by-elections date and abrogated its duty to the Health ministry. What I know is that when Zanu PF wants things done, it will fund the electoral management body and everything will be all systems go. Zanu PF knows that even if some mogul funds Zec, no one will be able to question the funding since already everyone knows a budget was set aside, and also that no one will be able to get into Zec’s books to see where the money came from and how it was used.

IN response to BCC rakes in $455k in fines, MHONDIWA says: I like Bulawayo City Council’s way of doing things. Its councillors are somehow transparent, despite that many times Zanu PF throws spanners into their works.

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