Government threatening future of over five million students says ARTUZ

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By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter

THE government is jeopardizing the future of over five million learners by continuing to ignore calls to raise salaries for teachers who have been reduced to paupers, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has said.

In a petition that is demanding the government to pay teachers US$1 260, ARTUZ said the authorities were threatening the right to education enshrined in the constitution.

“Zimbabwe public schools teachers have been reduced to paupers.  They earn a housing allowance of USD 7.50 per month in a country where low-income housing for a family of five is rented out at around USD 200 per month,” ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure said.

“The teachers live in inhabitable sanctuary. The same teachers earn USD 7 as transport allowance versus a market cost of USD 80. Teachers now walk for up to 20 km to work. The teachers are earning 20% of the poverty datum line,” he added.

Masaraure said teachers cannot afford decent meals, medical bills and education among other basics.

“Learners are losing out on the right to education since the teachers are severely incapacitated to deliver quality education. Teachers are on a paralysing strike which began on the 1st of March 2023.

“If the government fails to pay a living wage of USD 1260, over five million learners will lose out on their right to education.”

According to Masaraure, the absence of a vibrant education system in the country has contributed to the uptake of drugs by students.

“Learners lost learning time during the COVID-19 crisis and the majority are now taking to drugs because they are always idle.

“If the salary Crisis is not urgently resolved Zimbabwe will destroy both the future of this generation of learners and the development potential of the nation,” he said.