By Costa Nkomo
FIREBRAND trade unionist, Raymond Majongwe has told President Emmerson Mnangagwa to stop posturing on television and begin to address the plight of Zimbabwean teachers in earnest.
The country’s educators have refused to return to classes after the long Covid-19 induced break citing poor wages by government.
Zimbabwean teachers are demanding the restoration of their US dollar wages which stood at a minimum $500 before the country’s unpopular migration to the compulsory use of the local currency.
However, Majongwe, who is Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, found it rather insincere of President Mnangagwa to be issuing threats and related statements on television without committing himself to ending the impasse.
“My constituency has communicated very clearly that President Mnangagwa must address our demands and not to address us on television,” Majongwe said.
“Teachers have no money. The government should give us money.”
Sentiments by the PTUZ chief come after a lot of Zimbabwean school pupils failed to learn during the full resumption of schools Monday when teachers failed to turn up.
Majongwe declared teachers’ demands have not changed and nothing short of a genuine attempt to address the situation will motivate them to return to work.
Meanwhile, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader Obert Masaraure urged parents and guardians to take precautionary measures when deploying their children to schools as there was a real risk of contracting Covid-19 in the absence of teachers and protective material.
“The most dangerous thing learners face is contracting Covid-19. There is no one at school to monitor them and enforce adherence to Covid-19 health guidelines,” Masaraure said.
The trade unionist said teachers have been left with no choice but to mobilise parents and learners themselves to demand a long-lasting solution to the government-teachers’ impasse.
“We have launched ‘Save Our Education Campaign’ to mobilise every teacher, parent and children each to raise a placard maybe the government can hear our concerns,” Masaraure said.
Reached for comment on the recurrent crisis in schools, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema took a defiant stance, telling NewZimbabwe.com reporters to visit some local schools and observe if the situation was not normal.
“What have you seen yourself? Report what you have seen. Schools have opened today. Why are you asking?” Mathema said before he dropped the line.
Investigations by NewZimbabwe.com however established that school heads at government and councils schools in Harare struggled to control learners who were idle.
Children in some schools were being sent back home.
Some teachers who have chosen to offer their services are demanding cash as high as US$20 from each learner to conduct lessons.
They argue they were not getting enough from government.