By Zvamaida Murwira
Teachers have demanded that the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) should pay them for invigilating national examinations, a request which, if granted, might result in an increase in examination fees.
Unions representing teachers on Monday told Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima that they should be paid for running examinations the same way the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) pays polling officers during elections or how nurses are paid during national epidemic vaccination programmes.
This came out during a five-hour interactive meeting between Minister Mavima and all representatives of teachers’ trade unions.
So hot was the debate that Minister Mavima had to call the Zimsec board to hear its views.
In an interview, Minister Mavima confirmed the demand from teachers, but said they would continue consulting with all stakeholders.
“This was an engagement with our trade unions and it is something we think should be routine,” he said.
“They came up with their concerns, one of which was that on invigilation. We had to call Zimsec so that we could all be on the same page.
“On the issue they raised on the administration of examinations they will meet again with the Zimsec board within a week to further discuss.
“I am happy with the dialogue, they had a list full of issues some of which not related to our purview as the Ministry, but we will forward them to the relevant Ministry.”
During the meeting, it was noted that Zimsec was only paying cluster managers for running examinations who are school heads and their deputies.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer, Mr Sifiso Ndlovu, said payment of invigilators was consistent with regional trends as countries like Namibia were already doing it.
“Zimsec has demonstrated that they can pay because they hire cluster managers,” he said.
“If Zimsec can hire staff, why can’t they pay those who run examinations. At a time when salaries for teachers are low, this is the time to motivate them.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, Mr Raymond Majongwe, concurred with the payment of invigilators.
“We want teachers to be paid for invigilating,” he said.
“The issue has been taken on board but we will have to further dialogue. We have benefited a lot from this dialogue.”
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (TUZ) secretary-general Mr Godfrey Kanyongo described the meeting as fruitful.
“We raised the issue that invigilators should be paid just as ZEC does to its polling officers,” said Mr Kanyongo.
Zimsec said while the proposal was noble, it was financially incapacitated, hence the need to explore ways to raise money for that purpose.
Another problem raised by teachers was a directive by some school heads that the educators were supposed to invigilate while standing.
Teachers said it was not sustainable to stand for more than three hours.
It was agreed that there be more than one invigilator per classroom for them to take turns to supervise. The Herald