Crisis: Striking teachers fail to pitch up to invigilate Zimsec final exams

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By Leopold Munhende

EDUCATION authorities in Victoria Falls were left scrambling to find replacement invigilators after teachers at Mosi oa Tunya High School failed to pitch up for the History ‘O’ examination, has learnt.

One of the biggest schools by enrolment in Matabeleland North province, Mosi oa Tunya was forced to engage the Public Service Commission (PSC) to transport replacements from a number of different schools in the resort town.

A close source told that eight classes of an average 40 students were left stranded while Education Ministry officials tried to coerce other teachers to cover the gap.

“I do not have the actual number of students affected by the unfortunate incident but I can tell you Mosi a Tunya  is one of the biggest schools in the province with about eight classes of 40 students each. The other thing is History is a core-subject. So, you can imagine the disaster.

“Teachers are now working on Mondays only but there had been an assumption they would come for invigilation,” the source claimed.

“Unfortunately, they did not and the PSC had to engage other schools for teachers to cover. Most teachers refused and eventually the Ministry directed some headmasters and their deputies to cover since they do not go on strike.”

Efforts to contact the school were fruitless although indications are that the examination went ahead after the PSC secured buses to ferry some teachers to Mosi oa Tunya.

Police last week prevented angry teachers from marching to the Ministry of Finance demanding a review of their salaries at interbank rates.

Government has resisted the move forcing the teachers to declare a go-slow.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said the incident was likely to place the integrity of Zimsec exams in jeopardy.

He called on government to quickly resolve its impasse with teachers, adding authorities had approached primary educators to assist in a bid to avert a crisis.

“The primary school teachers in all of Victoria Falls have refused, the District Schools Inspector has begged school Heads and Deputies to take up the invigilating role.

“The integrity of our examinations is in jeopardy,” said Masaraure.

“We urge government to urgently address the salary crisis to restore normalcy in our schools.”

Teachers who were getting an average US$400 before the introduction of the local currency are now earning the equivalent of US$50 due to massive devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar.

Government has maintained it does not have money to meet the teachers’ demands with doctors who have been on strike for two months also requesting the same treatment.