Zimbabwean teachers say students not ready for exams due to COVID-19

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Medical workers treat a COVID-19 patient at the coronavirus unit in Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, Bnei Brak, April 13, 2020. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
(Nati Shohat/Flash90)

At least two teacher representative bodies have expressed concern over the Zimbabwean government’s plans to reopen schools for examinations this month, saying that students have not yet completed their syllabus.

They said they were also worried about the safety of both students and teachers in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools in Zimbabwe have been closed since the end of March, but the government is determined to ensure that final year students sitting for public examinations should do so this year.

The government announced Tuesday that schools would reopen only for the 2020 end of year final examinations, starting with students sitting for the external Cambridge examinations on Sept. 14, followed by those sitting for the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council on Sept. 28.

However, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) and the Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union said students had not been given enough time to complete their syllabus.

ZIMTA chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu told Star FM on Wednesday that the government should also give the students sufficient preparatory time for the examinations.

“And it is an obligation to provide a safe environment for learners and teachers. That must be a priority and resources should be made through a budgetary provision,” he said.

President of the Zimbabwe Rural Teachers’ Union Martin Chaburumunda said there was need to put more measures to protect teachers and students from getting infected with COVID-19.

He said stakeholders should verify whether schools were ready to reopen.

Their calls came a few days after the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe warned that its members would not report for duty until their safety and welfare issues had been resolved.

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