Education unions in Zimbabwe affiliated to Education International have vowed to unite and work together in the social dialogue processes taking place in their country, aiming to achieve improved outcomes for workers in the education sector.
Representatives from education unions attending a workshop organised and facilitated by Education International and Union of Education Norway (UEN) pledged to work together to solve labour and educator welfare issues through social dialogue. The latter will include input and participation from all unions at all times.
Workshop on social dialogue
Speaking during a validation and dissemination workshop on social dialogue in Zimbabwe, whose theme was “Advancing Social Dialogue During and Beyond COVID-19,” presidents of Zimbabwean education unions jointly agreed that working in silos to solve issues in the education sector was derailing progress and all Education International’s affiliated unions promised to unite in creating positive social dialogue for the sake of progress.
This conclusion was reached after Education International’s Africa Regional Director, Dr. Dennis Sinyolo, had given a presentation to Education International’s member organisations in Zimbabwe, i.e., the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA), the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe (COLAZ), the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) and the 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.
Impact of COVID-19 on the education sector
These 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”. The research was undertaken by Professor Thembikosi Tshabalala and facilitated by UEN and Education International through its Zimbabwean affiliate ZIMTA.
Amongst key findings of the research was that both learners and teachers lost quality education time, whilst a substantial number of learners dropped out of school. Psychological depression was rampant and educators’ rights and access to education were diminished at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.