By Edward Mukaro
TEACHERS have tabled a US$520 salary demand before reporting for duty, as Government prepares to open classroom doors to pupils.
The employer (government) has set the 14th and 28th September 2020 for Cambridge and ZIMSEC exam classes, respectively, but teachers will have none of that till their tabled salary demands are met.
After engaging education stakeholders concerning the preparedness and safe opening of schools ahead of dates set by the government, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Association (ARTUZ) has delayed publishing its findings that will be compiled under the name “Education in Crisis Report”, but noted that teachers were ready to get back their work stations before government meets their demand.
“The response from teachers clearly shows that they’re not ready to go back to work before the salary dispute is fairly resolved. A USD520 monthly is the only incentive to attract teachers back to their work stations.
“As a union that represents the genuine grievances of teachers, we are now declaring that no teacher will report for duty until the government restores back a teacher monthly salary of USD520. We are now mobilizing for no opening of schools until the government respects the value and services offered by teachers,” Artuz said.
Furthermore, the teachers’ body said before even considering hurriedly opening schools, the government should make sure that all gaps identified by stakeholders during the body’s survey, should be all be addressed before work resumes.
“The supporting pillars such as parents, health professionals and public transporters also highlighted the need for government to close the existing gaps to ensure the safety of learners in schools, safe and smooth daily commuting of learners and teachers to and from schools, particularly in urban areas.
“Learners recommended the pushing forward of examination dates from the 1st December set by the government to allow them the required standard time to prepare for examinations. The government should first address all these gaps.”
The much-awaited “Education in Crisis Report” by ARTUZ, that will be published on the 14th September 2020 will focus on topical issues such as Curriculum Expectations and learning gaps, teacher preparedness for schools opening, learner preparedness, state of supporting pillars and government’s response strategy, among others.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) chief executive Dr Sifiso Ndlovu was quoted in a local publication saying ‘it would be unfair to the learners if the government goes ahead with plans to reopen and schedule exams for November this year, opining that both learners and teachers ill-prepared after losing considerable learning time due to the COVID- 19 national lockdown.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Dr Takavafira Zhou also added that before government rushes to open schools they must first address the issue of teacher recruitment noting that the backlog of 50 000 teachers was grossly affecting service delivery.
By Edward Mukaro