By Clayton Shereni, Masvingo Correspondent
OFFICIALS from the Education Ministry are accused of forcing teachers in Masvingo to invigilate Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) examinations without proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) despite the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.
The incident allegedly happened at Mucheke High School, where students are writing their public examinations.
In a statement Wednesday, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, Takavafira Zhou accused the Masvingo district schools inspector, Ishmael Chigaba of coercing teachers to invigilate exams in a room where a Covid-19 positive student was writing.
Zhou lamented the directive said was “dangerous and commandist” as the lives of the teachers were at risk.
“ZIMSEC and Ministry of Education commandist approach over invigilation of public examinations has reached a dangerous stage where teachers are ordered to invigilate Covid-19 candidates without any protective gear.
“The Mucheke High School episode in Masvingo is a case in point. DSI Chigaba was adamant that teachers must invigilate a Covid-19 positive private patient candidate at the school. It is our view as PTUZ that such arrogance is not prioritising the health and safety of teachers and even other pupils” Zhou said.
However, efforts by NewZimbabwe.com to get Chigaba’s own side of the story didn’t yield any results as he directed all questions to his superiors.
“I am not allowed to talk to the press, you can get in touch with the provincial education director (PED), she knows about the issue,” Chigaba said.
However, when NewZimbabwe.com contacted Shylatte Mhike, the PED, she professed ignorance over the matter.
“Right now I am in Harare and I haven’t received such a report. However, a Covid-19 pupil who is supposed to sit for examinations should do so,” Mhike said.
Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in Masvingo’s learning institutions mainly Masvingo Teachers College, where the Omicron variant was first detected in the country.