…Calls for free education for educators’ children
…As teachers work one day per week
SYDNEY SAIZE & LIVINGSTONE MARUFU
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education says children of teachers in Zimbabwe should learn for free at council and government schools to cushion them from the harsh economic crisis.
The Committee’s chairperson, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, spoke at the Parliamentary meeting held in Mutare last week, saying it was disheartening to note that most teachers cannot afford to send their children to schools of their choice.
“As Parliament we will continue with this call to have our teachers assisted with free education for their children in government and council schools.
“Additionally the teachers need to be well accommodated at work stations and be well clothed as some can hardly dress decently owing to their measly salaries,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
Most teachers in their country earn less than ZWL$25 000 which is below the poverty datum line.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said teachers’ work stations should be worker friendly to ensure they give their best in teaching learners to improve the pass rate that is on a decline.
Sifiso Ndlovu, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union implored the government to address the teachers’ plight.
‘’It is a thorny issue that has been on the cards (for many years). (We have been) advancing the (idea) of getting their children a free education as it is painful to teach other people’s children while your own are out of school,” Ndlovu said.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda told Business Times the government would seriously consider the teachers’ expectations.
‘’I have said it and will say it again that the government knows about the teachers’ plight and it is something that is still on the table and will be looked into for consideration,’’ Mudenda said at the close of the Parliamentary meeting in Mutare.
Meanwhile, teachers have resorted to work one day a week instead of five, which translates to four days a month, in protest to poor remuneration.
Government has directed that schools should decongest their institutions with non-examination classes opening for fewer days a week. Educators for examination classes are, however, expected to report for work every working day of the week.
“We have resumed classes, but we are working once a week or four days a month so that the government will not use ‘No work no pay’ policy against us. We are working according to how we are being paid,” Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou told Business Times this week.
A fortnight ago, teachers demanded to be placed at the same level with the uniformed forces, who are said to be earning close to ZWL$30 000 a month.
Examination classes opened on March 15, 2021 with the rest of classes opening the following week.
Teachers said the lasting solution to their problem was to pay the educators in US dollars.
They said they were getting between US$480 and US$520 per month in 2018.
They are now demanding that their salaries be pegged back at that level.
Government, however, is not willing to offer such an amount.
The salary demands come at a time when the government has approved a 200% hike in university fees, which will result in students at State universities forking out between ZWL$25 000 and ZWL$40 000 per semester, up from ZWL$9 000.
State university employees also gave a 14-day notice to the Public Service ministry announcing their intention to embark on a strike in protest over low wages.