By Own Correspondent
MOST primary and secondary school teachers are cashing in on the prolonged closure of schools through conducting lucrative online classes, it has emerged.
The recent spike in new Covid-19 infections, and deaths has forced the government to postpone the reopening of schools as a way of controlling the raging pandemic.
Formal face-to-face classes were supposed to resume on June 28 before the government postponed the dates indefinitely.
However, sensing an opportunity to make a killing from the closure of schools, most teachers have set-up private online classes targeting pupils from both their schools and elsewhere.
A snap survey carried by NewZimbabwe.com shows teachers are charging an average of US$15 per month for primary school students, US$10 per subject for Ordinary Level students and US$15 per subject for Advanced Level Learners.
A senior teacher in Zimbabwe is getting a salary of $22 000 which fetches around US$169 on the black market.
From the US$169, teachers have to pay rentals, bills, groceries and fees for their families.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s (CCZ) latest publication revealed that an average family of six in Zimbabwe now requires $40 680 for their monthly requirement compared to $35 877 in April.
As a result, the extra cash teachers are getting from providing extra lessons is going a long way in sustaining their livelihoods.
“While covid-19 has affected our lives, it has brought with it some good fortune,” said a Harare-based teacher told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.
“Online classes are raking in good money for me. I teach Advanced Level Chemistry and my online class has 27 students. Pupils refer their colleagues to me because they know I am good at what I do and the fact that I am a ZIMSEC certified Chemistry examinations marker works to my favour,” he said.
ZIMSEC stands for Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council.
Another primary school teacher added parents were desperate to acquire the best education for their children under the Covid-19 pandemic, and were willing to part with their foreign currency for their kids to attend online lessons.
“I charge US$10 per child per month for my online Grade Seven class of 32 students. I will continue with these lessons even when government gives the nod for schools to reopen because I am getting way more than my salary from these lessons,” she said.
Teachers are also advertising their services through social media platforms, creating WhatsApp groups where they send sample questions and answers in a bid to entice parents to pay for their children to attend the classes.
Once payment has been made, the student is added to the main online class group where lessons are conducted at set times.
While the government is against the practice, teachers argue they will do anything within their power to put food on the table for their families because the state is neglecting them.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has maintained teachers’ salaries should be restored to their pre-2018 US$540 monthly salaries or the equivalent in local currency otherwise the education delivery system will continue to go downhill.