New Zimbabwe.com

Teachers On Go Slow, Demand Better Wages

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By Leopold Munhende

A LOT of teachers in government schools this week reported for work when classes opened for 2020 for fear of victimisation by government and State security agents, but are staging sit-ins and no schooling is taking place, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.

The teachers had last week, through their trade unions, vowed not to return to work when schools opened on Tuesday saying they were incapacitated.

They are demanding better wages in local currency pegged at the prevailing interbank rates with the US dollar. However, the government has failed to honour their demands.

According to Patience Phiri, a teacher at Dorset Secondary school in Shurugwi district, Midlands province, only a few teachers who are not union members were teaching out of fear of victimisation.

“Most of the teachers who have reported for duty are just clocking in and no meaningful teaching is taking place,” she said.

“Teachers are incapacitated to report for work and those teaching do it out of fear that they might lose their jobs since most of them do not have unions to represent them.”

This desperate situation seemed to be taking place in a lot of public schools across the country.

Sources said only five out of 21 teachers were teaching at Mpalawani secondary school in Insiza district, six at Gobo primary in Lower Gweru and five at Mapako government high school in Manicaland.

“Only two teachers are teaching at Manjolo primary school, there are no teachers here, there is no learning in Binga,” said Machona Munkuli, a teacher in Binga.

He described those working as cowards.

“It is really sad news to hear that we still have cowards who are scared of being victimised. I guess those who are teaching have separate accounts which they are receiving their salaries nicodemously.”

Contacted for comment, Secretary General of the militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Raymond Majongwe told NewZimbabwe.com to visit the schools to “assess the effects of teachers’ incapacitation”.

“You should investigate on your own the situation in schools,” he said.

Early this month, PTUZ and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) had vowed to lead thousands of teachers under their stable onto a job boycott when schools opened for the first term of 2020.

“The teachers are earning (equivalent of US$30 per month, which is not enough to cater for the education of their dependants, food, shelter, health care and even transport to work,” said ARTUZ President Obert Masaraure.