The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has taken the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (Zimsec) to task over what it considers to abuse of examiners marking both ‘A’ and ‘O’ Level examinations.
The teacher’s union claims examiners are getting only two slices of bread and beans for breakfast contrary to the initial agreement.
PTUZ president Dr Takavafira Zhou told TellZim News that Zimsec had initially agreed to give examiners breakfast $40 worth of breakfast.
He said the breakfast would be made up of four slices of bread with butter, coffee, one boiled egg and baked beans.
Zhou said examiners were also promised decent lunch and $57 dinner allowances while those who were not offered accommodation were promised $167 for both dinner and accommodation.
“What boggles the mind is that Zimsec is going back on the initial agreement. We had a meeting with them and we agreed on all the logistics but to our surprise, our examiners are being treated like prisoners.
“They are being given only two dry slices of bread with baked beans and tea. The tea sometimes does not even have milk. For breakfast, we had agreed on a decent meal with a value of $40 but that is not what is happening.
“Our examiners were supposed to be given four slices of bread with butter, baked beans, a boiled egg and coffee,” said Zhou.
He said the lunch being served to examiners was substandard and that was demoralising them to such an extent that final results could be compromised.
“We were promised to be served a decent lunch but what we are seeing is deplorable. The lunch is substandard and sometimes it comes in short supply, with some examiners having to wait for supper.
“The dinner allowances were pegged at $57 but our examiners are being paid $54 and we wonder what is going on at Zimsec.
“Those who have not been offered accommodation are being paid $74 in dinner and accommodation allowances instead of the agreed $167. We are very disturbed by these reports and we are compiling a report so that we can confront Zimsec.
“Marking is a rigorous exercise which requires full concentration for one to be fair and accurate. How would you expect a teacher who is hungry and thinking about where they will sleep to concentrate? It is disaster in the making,” said Zhou.
Zhou said the teachers were made to sign contracts which prohibited them from speaking to ‘outsiders’ about their welfare.
“I visited Masvingo Polytechnic College yesterday to make an assessment and the examiners were running away saying they were not allowed to talk to us. They were given a directive not to speak to any outsider but our members are coming forward and disclosing information.
“If teachers think it is prudent to be silenced and get peanuts at the end of the day then they should wake up. We should not die in silence. We should speak with one voice. Silence means we want to be abused,” said Zhou.
Efforts to get a comment from Zimsec director Dr Lazarus Nembaware were futile as his mobile was not reachable.