By Mandipa Masenyama
THE monthly salaries for teachers have been eroded by 50% due to inflation and the rise in the cost of living in Zimbabwe.
This, according to the Amalgamated Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has left the majority of teachers to live in “sub-human conditions.”
On Tuesday, teachers across the globe celebrated World Teachers’ Day under the theme; “Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery.”
“Teacher’s salaries have been eroded to less than 50% of the Total Consumption Poverty line (TCPL) due to inflation and the rise in the cost of living and some of the demands by teachers are welfare issues like housing which has proven to be a great challenge especially for those stationed in rural areas who stay in sub-human conditions and are often exposed to risk due to the conditions they will be living under,” ARTUZ said in a statement.
It raised concerns over the reluctance of the government in the provision of good and quality education and also a failure by the state to meet the needs of teachers and address their grievances.
When schools reopened for the final term last month, Education Ministry secretary Thumisang Thabela told teachers to borrow money for them to report to their respective workplaces.
“As a union, we are worried that the government has consistently proven that it’s not worried about the quality of education in the country but instead expropriates its role to teachers who are inadequately equipped.
The union ARTUZ said due to Covid-19, it had made efforts in catching up with the digital world through equipping teachers with the knowledge on how to execute online lessons.
“The union went further and strongly lobbied the government to structurally support remote learning through methods such as the USSD mode of learning that has proven to be effective in other jurisdictions.
“The various methods of remote-learning that the union advocated for opened up new possibilities of in cooperating new technologies to the manner in which teachers execute their duties,” ARTUZ said.
The union also raised concerns on how the learning environment was not safe for learners and teachers and reminded the government to adhere to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 regulations.
“The government must adhere to Standard Operating Procedure Set by the World Health Organisation. It’s sad to note that the government had not adequately prepared for schools to opening with regards to Covid-19 preventative measures.
“Schools are now hotspots and this has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health. This puts teachers at risk of exposure to the virus and unfortunately, this affects the quality of the service provided,” ARTUZ said.