THREE Karoi teachers last Thursday succumbed to COVID-19 amid reports that some of them were still awaiting payment from the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) for marking “O” Level examinations last year.
Karoi is among several districts in Mashonaland West province that have been declared COVID-19 hotspots by the Health ministry and is under localised lockdown.
One of the deceased teachers, Goodluck Tobaiwa Chambe, of Chikangwe High School was a principal marking supervisor under the Combined Science section.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said it was sad that Chambe died without getting his dues for marking last year’s examinations.
“We are not happy that the late Karoi teacher (Chambe) was yet to get paid by Zimsec. He never got his dues and this is how bad it is as people who offered services, but national institutions renege on making payments. The impact of COVID-19 is obviously felt as he could have used the funds to buy protective equipment and to get medical attention. This is a tragedy,” Majongwe said.
Zimsec public relations manager Nicky Dlamini confirmed that teachers, who marked the 2020 examinations, were yet to be paid.
“We are sorry for the family’s loss. Let me confirm that the payments for teachers, who marked Zimsec examinations, are currently being processed. Those that marked language papers were paid in May, the next batch of payments is being dispatched,” Dlamini said.
“COVID-19 affected many systems, not only Zimsec, but globally. It is unfortunate, but the payments were made in batches.”
Majongwe said more teachers were likely to succumb to the pandemic, and appealed to government to immediately put in place measures to protect them.
“We appeal to government to ensure teachers’ welfare is safeguarded during COVID-19. Teachers need respect, and as far as PTUZ is concerned, it is criminal to proceed and reopen schools as if things are normal when we know the impact that is being felt now through loss of our members,” he said.