By Robson Chere
Revolutionary Greetings the intellegencia Torch Bearers of Our Nation. Today i am here at this great Institution to talk discuss with you the most valuable weapon to destroy poverty and develop our Nation as well as Self Development. EDUCATION
The educational triangle emphasises the symbiotic and quid pro quo relationship that subsists between the key stakeholders in education. These triple stakeholders are teachers, students and parents. However, the primary hands on practitioners in education are teachers and students. The process of transfer of knowledge can only be efficient and effective if and when educators and students work hands in glove with one another as they navigate the tricky educational path in Zimbabwe.
I address you cdes as the education sector is at crossroads. We are daunted by ugly challenges ranging from demoralised and demotivated absolutely poor educators surviving on dog tax and slave wages. Students find themselves living in unimaginable poverty yet their mouths being gagged to cry out. Learning institutions have always been traditionally the bastion of freedom of expression, grounds for thought leadership and incubators of revolutionary changes both economically, socially and politically. Our environment has however suffocated any semblance and form of free thought and expression. A sad reality.
Section 75 of our constitution entrenched the right to quality and equally accessible education. Reality is defying this basic right. Zimbabwe is promoting barbed wire education where the children of the poor( ironically educators) are condemned to drop out of formal education because of exorbitant discriminatory fees. It therefore goes without saying that students and educators need to find one another and agitate to obtain material reforms that realises access to education by all regardless of financial background. Educators must demand to have all their students in class as students demand to have well remunerated educators in class. It’s only logical.
Zimbabwe is facing alarming shrinking of democratic space in civic activities as the government piece together stone age draconian dictatorial legislation seeking to silence democratic elements. This includes criminalisation of academic freedom which is a basic feature of any learning institution. Dambudzo Marechera is turning in his grave. Learnmore Jongwe is turning in his grave. Student activists find themselves being arrested, suspended or even expelled from college for exercising their basic right as enshrined in Section 61 of the constitution. Which educator wants to teach docile fearful students? None. The institution of learning Isa liberated zone where students freely share ideas without reprisal. That should be a given. In that light, educators must lead in encouraging and defending students who stand up to challenge the status quo. The student era is the time of pushing boundaries, of militancy and confrontation. Students have always throughout history been the epicenter of progress and revolutionary change. Zimbabwe should and will never be an exception. As long as there is no freedom, there should never be peace the the University grounds.
Cdes, I have been a student leader. I bear the scars of fighting for students. I however can assure you that there is nothing as gratifying as fighting for the future, fighting for the poor and fighting for justice. I am able to live with myself today because I know I did the right thing during my student days. I regret nothing and celebrate everything. 10 years down the line when you are unable to send your child to school will you be able to live with yourselves when you look back at what you are doing now?
I am an educator, SG of Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union in Zimbabwe, probably the most government hated Union in the country. I challenge all educators in this country to defend their students, to defend our dignity with no apology whatsoever. Zimbabwe needs united students and teachers now more than ever.
Ahoy Cdes! We continue to fight!