06 February 2021
Education is the only key from misery to hope, from instability to stability, from poverty to success but the reflections from the recently published pass rate statistics of the grade seven results leaves a lot to be desired. The statistics reflect a dangerous precedent that has been set by the education ministry together with government that as long as there is a crisis in the proportion of Covid19 then there will continue to be no hope for the future, the tide is going heavily against the education sector and the captains at the wheel are driving us deeper into the abyss. The drop in the national pass rate from 46.9 in 2019 to 37.11 and difference between rural and urban school systems could not have been more glaring and obvious as exhibited by 2020 results, whilst the majority of schools in urban areas excelled due to their everyday access to learning through online lessons during the Covid19 induced lockdown and physical closure of schools and face to face learning, those in the rural school system were severely affected as they had no visible and tangible alternative ways of conducting distance learning. This scenario is a perfect illustration of how rural schools have long been marginalised whilst those in the urban set up are given special priority. A significant number of schools in the rural school system attained a zero pass rate, this is an unacceptable circumstance in this day and age especially when the world is looking at attaining the SDG4 goal. Covid19 disrupted the face of education globally and the usual standards were reset to unfamiliar methods of accessing education and it is a fact that the sector would be affected in a negative way however the government turned a deaf ear to all reasonable solutions proffered by the majority of professional and civic voices in postponing public examinations. In the same vein the government chose to adopt a command approach in forcing the examinations to proceed despite the fact that the education year had virtually ended prematurely during the first term, students were dragged into sitting for exams they had not prepared for. Rural schools were disadvantaged even when online learning was provided as the only alternative because over 90 percent of schools in rural Zimbabwe are located in areas where there is no internet infrastructure, they have no access to internet gadgets because of the underlying poverty in their areas. The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has long called for the setup of the Education Equalisation Fund for the intention of bridging the poverty gap between rural and urban schools which in turn could have avoided such a disastrous scenario The government of Zimbabwe has long since abdicated it’s responsibility of providing quality education through years of neglect and ill management and what is more worrisome is how senior government officials like one George Charamba are taking to social media accusing rural teachers under Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe of being responsible for the poor pass rate in rural areas. ARTUZ wishes to categorically state that we will not sit and watch the baby being thrown away with the bath water, Mr Charamba’s statements are not only regrettable but pathetic, reckless and shows a government out of touch with real issues affecting teachers and learners.