TEACHERS have been urged to report for duty as schools opened under Phase Three which has paved the way for lessons for everyone in primary and secondary school to resume being conducted in the classroom.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) A to Grade Five pupils joined the Grade Six and Seven classes in primary schools while Form One and Two joined their seniors who had opened in September and last month.
However, teachers did not report for duty in some schools. Some parents had to withdraw their children when they observed no learning related activities happening at the institutions.
Pupils were crowded outside schools waiting for school authorities to attend to them in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Hwange among other parts of country. Only school heads and a few support staff were present in some schools.
Pupils told Chronicle news crews that they were told that they would be updated via official social media platforms to return to school once teachers are available.
They said only examination classes, especially those doing science subjects, were told to remain in school to study.
Some learners could be seen playing in the school yards as others returned home.
The pupils were not following the Standard Operating Procedures which stipulate that they maintain social distancing, wear face masks among other Covid-19 prevention measures.
Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo urged teachers to report for duty saying Government was still in talks with their unions to attend to their concerns.
Teachers have declared incapacitation and some have not reported for duty since Government introduced the first phase of schools opening in September. This has seen Government warning teachers that it will withdraw their salaries if they do not report for duty.
Deputy Minister Moyo said Government has procured personal protective equipment for schools to protect learners and teachers from Covid-19. “We have dealt with personal protective equipment, time tables for candidates who are writing examinations. Our expectation is that both pupils and teachers go to school. We encourage teachers to perform their duties while their union leaders are engaging Government over their issues of concern,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.
He said parents and guardians should also make sure that children stay in school as learning institutions are safer zones for learners.
“We are encouraging parents to send their children to school and no head is expected to chase away the learners.
Pupils have a right to access to education. There are serious consequences for children and the country if our children do not go to school. There are lots of hazards that may befall them while at home such as child abuse; they may start new habits which may not be good for them while others might be involved in child labour. So, when they are out of schools, they are likely to experience serious hazards yet the school provides safe zones,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo said it remains illegal for schools to demand teacher incentives from parents and guardians.