Teachers Vow Not To Return To Class Over Poor Salaries

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

SCHOOL teachers have once again threatened to boycott classes unless government addresses the outstanding issue of their salaries and other education related allowances before the opening of schools next week.

The government last week announced that schools will be opened for the first term on February 7 following weeks of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Teachers challenged the government to take advantage of the deferment of the opening of the schools to address all the outstanding issues, but the government has up to now not yet resolved the thorny issues.

“Teachers are not ready. We are not telling our members any message but rather they are telling us as leaders that the government must address their salaries and conditions of service before opening schools. The restoration of the purchasing power parity of teachers’ salaries to US$540 is long overdue and so is the implementation of an array of education sector specific allowances agreed to over the past five years,” Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said in interview with Sunday.

Zhou said the teachers are demanding allowances for ECD, composite class, bloated class, and advanced level teachers.

Zhou said the teachers also want to be exempted from paying schools fees for their children at all government owned schools.

“We want non- payment of fees by at least three children of a teacher in any school where teachers are paid by government. The government must be sensitive to the poverty stricken teachers and parents more so given the marked disparity of the current teachers’ salaries which are as low as $19000 and exorbitant school fees as high as $190000 to $260000 in boarding schools where teachers are paid by government and US$1000 to $3000 in private schools. There is need to strike a balance sheet or a win-win situation so that schools can successfully open,” Zhou said.