The Amalgamated Rural Teachers of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has stepped up its campaign to discourage teachers from reporting for duty for the purpose of invigilating in the on-going Ordinary and Advanced Levels examinations.
The union has been vociferously opposed to the opening of schools on the grounds that this puts the lives of teachers and students at grave risk. It has also been opposed to the opening of the schools as part of its campaign for improved salaries and conditions of service for its members.
The union filed an urgent court application seeking to stop the government from opening schools, but High Court judge, Justice David Mangota ruled that the application was not urgent. The application has since been largely made redundant after spiking COVID-19 cases forced the government to indefinitely defer the opening of the schools, except for writing of exams, before it went further to announce a full national lockdown.
ARTUZ president, Obert Masaraure, this week said reports indicating that COVID-19 is spreading among headmasters, teachers and learners had vindicated their initial move to seek the safe opening of schools.
“We approached the Courts applying for safe schools opening. Justice Mangota ruled that our application was not urgent,” Masaraure said. “If preserving human life is not urgent what then can ever be urgent? Now the poor teachers and learners are now victims. Our institutions are failing to protect us, let’s protect ourselves. Teachers please stay home!”