Education Unions in Zimbabwe affiliated to Education International (EI) have vowed to unite and work together in the social dialogue processes that take place in their country, in a move that is expected to see improved outcomes for members of the education sector.
Representatives from education unions attending a workshop organized and facilitated by Education International and Union of Education Norway pledged allegiance and commitment to working together to solve labour and educator welfare issues through social dialogue that will include input and participation from all unions at all times.
Speaking during a validation and dissemination workshop on social dialogue in Zimbabwe, whose theme was “Advancing Social Dialogue During and Beyond Covid-19,” the Presidents of Zimbabwean education unions jointly agreed that working in silos to solve issues in the education sector was derailing progress and all E.I. affiliated unions promised to unite in creating positive social dialogue for the sake of progress.
This conclusion was reached after the E.I Africa Regional Director, Dr. Dennis Sinyolo, had given a presentation to E.I. affiliated unions in Zimbabwe, namely, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, (ZIMTA), The College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe,(COLAZ), the Progressive Teachers Union, (PTUZ), and Zimbabwe Educational, Scientific, Social and Cultural Workers Union (ZESSCU), imploring the unions to unite and advance social dialogue in Zimbabwe. “As education unions we need to approach the employer as one united force, for we are stronger together”, advised Dr Sinyolo.
The pledges occurred on the sidelines of a presentation of the outcomes of a research done in 2021/2022 which focused on the “Impact of Covid-19 on the Education Sector in Zimbabwe”, done by Professor Thembikosi Tshabalala and facilitated by UEN and EI through its Zimbabwe affiliate, ZIMTA.
Amongst some of the findings of the research was the fact that both learners and teachers lost quality learning time, whilst a substantial number of learners dropped out of school. There was psychological depression and the educators rights and access to education were diminished at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.