By Bulawayo Correspondent
SOME headmasters were Tuesday forced to hire local villagers to assist in invigilating ZIMSEC June ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level examinations after teachers boycotted the process due to lack of proper Covid-19 safety precautions in schools.
Progress Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Takavafira Zhou said there was chaos at some schools on the first day of the examinations adding this compromised the outcome of the final results.
“In some schools, we also received reports that headmasters and the Schools Development Committees (SDC) were recruiting villagers to invigilate the students. This seriously compromises the outcome of the results,” he said.
Zhou said PTUZ union members boycotted invigilating due to the non-availability of Covid-19 requirements in schools.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the Education Ministry was forced to dispatch invigilators to Zembe High School in Beitbridge after most teachers failed to turn up.
“Our members did not report for duty to their stations because the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 requirements were not met by the government. About 80% of the schools did not have temperature checking thermometers and hand sanitisers,” he said.
Zhou said in some schools, the students did not have proper face masks while at some boarding schools, candidates failed to travel to the schools because of the exorbitant boarding and travelling costs.
He added the lives of candidates and invigilators at 80% of schools especially those in rural areas were at risk as they had no Covid-19 sanitisers while a third of writing students failed to travel to their examination centres due to exorbitant transport costs as well as fear of contracting the virus.
Zhou went on to accuse Education Minister Cain Mathema of misleading the nation claiming the government was prepared for the examinations.
“I am disappointed by Minister Mathema. How can he come out on television telling people that the government has done all the necessary things for schools to open? That was clearly a lie because about 80% of our schools are not yet ready to reopen,” said Zhou.
In a statement issued Monday, Mathema said the ministry had secured all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of candidates and invigilators against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zhou said teachers will continue boycotting the examinations until the government abides by the WHO Covid-19 prevention standards as well as reviewed upwards their salaries.
Meanwhile, a visit by NewZimbabwe.com to Evelyn High School in Bulawayo revealed students were being sanitised but the thermometers available were not functioning. All the students and invigilators were putting on face masks.