Covid-19 Worsens Inequalities in Rural Education.
Rural school teachers and students have once again reiterated that they are the ones suffering most from inequality which in turn has resulted in the poor state of their education worsened by Covid-19.
In a press statement Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) noted that there are so many problems plaguing rural schools in a deep mess such as dilapidated infrastructure, non existent learning structures and shortages of learning material.
For over five years ARTUZ has been fighting and advocating for welfare of teachers in rural areas and quality of education.
Furthermore ARTUZ has the view that education in rural schools is more vulnerable during this global pandemic as lockdown regulations are hindering physical learning, ” Online learning is a good substitute for physical learning but to present such a solution in areas that barely have electricity shows high levels of arrogance and disillusionment by the government”, reads part of the statement.
The gap between the quality of education in rural and urban areas has never been the same, to make the matter worse rural schools teachers and students (RSTAS) have no alternative ways to conduct lessons. Hence the government’s decision to proceed with public examinations was a major disadvantage to RSTAS.
ARTUZ is pushing for an education recovery plan under ADAPT strategy, ” A- Adequate funding for Education, D- Devolved and Democratic Education management, A-Addressing curriculum deficits and Teacher capacity building, P-Promote labour justice for education workers, T- Technological and infrastructure development. It is our firm view that if the blue print is adopted will address both the surface crisis points and perennial unresolved structural challenges”,said ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure.
Masaraure went on to call for the cancellation of the ongoing examinations, “We call for cancelling of ongoing public examinations for the safety of learners and preserving credibility of the education system. Teacher salaries should be urgently resolved to motivate them to deliver quality education. Government should capacitate all public schools to be able to adhere to COVID19 Standard Operating Procedures, SOPs when they open”
Meanwhile the organisation is calling upon the responsible ministry and the government to urgently find an immediate solution that is not elitist in approach and to engage all stakeholders who are equipped to come up with the proper solutions.