GOVERNMENT has bowed down to pressure from student teachers after agreeing to increase their monthly pay-outs on top of the US$75 Covid-19 allowance backdated to November 1, 2020.
Trainee teachers were being paid an equivalent of US$1.50 since last year and had not received the Covid-19 allowance which was paid to other civil servants.
Last month, student teachers threatened to stage a strike over meagre payments which they attributed to the abandonment of studies by many of their colleagues.
But after successful engagements by the Council of Student Teachers (COST) , the government finally agreed to effect a lucrative allowances deal.
A letter written by the Public Service secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe which was addressed to the general manager for Payroll Management at the Salary Service Bureau confirms the latest developments.
“The Public Service Commission has approved with treasury concurrence an increase on Student Teacher Allowance from $157 to the bottom salary step of Grade C4, currently at $9 049 (total package) as at 1 November Salary key scale,” he said.
Wutawunashe said the US$75 Covid-19 allowance must also be extended to student teachers as well during their time on teaching practice and should be paid concurrently with their monthly allowances in local currency after converting it at the prevailing auction exchange rate on the date of payment.
“The general manager Payroll Management is advised to pay both the Student Teacher Allowance and extend the US$75 Covid-19 Allowance to Student Teachers, with effect from April 1 2021,” he added.
Commenting on the developments, COST president, Walter Muzamani expressed gratitude to the government for taking heed of their concerns.
“This is good news for trainee teachers. We have won as student teachers. What we wanted was an 80% allowance increase for the lowest paid teacher and it has been fulfilled.
“They have bowed down to demands which reflects the power of the student teacher’s project, COST,” he said.