Grade 7 Exam Markers Clash With ZIMSEC Over Covid Tests

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

TEACHERS marking 2021 Grade Seven examinations have vowed to resist the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC)’s decision to demand Covid-19 test certificates.

ZIMSEC last week wrote a memo advising all examiners to undergo the tests before the marking exercise which started this Monday.

The examiners are expected to personally foot the tests and other related costs.

A PCR Covid-19 test cost around US$60.

The marking of Grade Seven examinations was delayed last December due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, examiners who spoke to in Bulawayo Monday accused ZIMSEC of double standards when it comes to enforcing Covid-19 prevention measures.

“ZIMSEC is now pretending to be concerned about our health yet they forced us to invigilate students without these Covid-19 tests certificates. A lot of teachers contracted Covid-19 while invigilating students last year,” he said.

“Why didn’t they enforce these measures when we were invigilating the examinations last year?”

He vowed not to attend the marking exercise until the examination body clarified on who is going to foot the testing costs.

Another marker added: “Invigilation was the riskiest period where a lot of teachers got infected. ZIMSEC refused to pay us invigilation fees but now they want to shortchange us by demanding Covid-19 certificates which they failed to ask for during the crucial stage.”

“Where does ZIMSEC expect us to get the US$60 and transport money for the testing? We are not even paid such money per day for the marking services. I would rather not mark the examinations than undergo those expensive tests.” failed to get in touch with ZIMSEC spokesperson Nicky Dhlamini.

However, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou confirmed the development.

“Yes, we are aware that ZIMSEC is demanding Covid-19 certificates from Grade Seven markers,” he said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure accused ZIMSEC of undermining the rights of teachers.

“ZIMSEC is becoming notorious for undermining the rights of workers. Teachers should realise they have sacred labour rights and should never allow anyone to trample on their rights,” he said.

“Markers should demand a fresh contract from ZIMSEC, the contract should clearly state who is responsible for the health and safety of the markers at the workplace. It is the duty of the employer to ensure safety at the workplace. We urge teachers to exercise their power and withhold services until these issues are resolved.”