This year’s World Teachers’ Day is gloomy for the Zimbabwean Teachers who were affected by both the Covid-19 pandemic and poor wages with the Zimbabwean government showing no commitment to champion their plight.
Teachers unions in the Southern African country have all condemned President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration for the lack of will to improve their standard of living which has seen them being incapacitated to the extent of failing to pay for transport to their work stations.
In separate statements, unions collaborated that there is a need for learners and teachers to push the government to improve Teachers’ welfare.
In an interview with Josey News Network, Obert Masaraure, the National President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), said the day was an opportunity to reflect on the status of the teachers and dialogue on ways to restore their dignity.
“Teachers around the globe are commemorating World Teachers Day under the theme, ‘Teachers: Leading during Crisis, reimagining the future’. Locally we commemorate under theme, ‘Restoring Teacher Dignity, Recalibrating our deteriorating education system’. The day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the current status of the teacher and dialogue on ways to restore the dignity of our teachers.
“Teachers day cones at a time when normal learning has been disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic. It is imperative that we dialogue on ways of recalibrating our education system, so that our education endures during seasons of emergencies.
“Zimbabwe’s education has been our sole source of pride, it is incumbent upon all citizens to collectively protect our education from collapse. Teachers, learners and parents should unite and force the government to restore normalcy in the education sector. Paying a living wage to teachers is a step in the right direction,” Masaraure said.
In a statement, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) expressed worry over the government’s decision to reduce teachers’ salaries in October 2018.
“The Covid-19 crisis, coupled with the economic challenges, however has seen the welfare of Teachers decimated, their salaries mutilated and reduced from USD 520 – USD 550 in October 2019 to an equivalent of USD 35 being paid now. This has put Teachers in a very difficult situation which left them incapacitated to open schools on the 28th of September 2020 as scheduled by government.
“Faced by these several challenges or crises, teachers should claim a leading role as suggested by this year’s theme and shape a future for the education sector and the country,” read the statement.
PTUZ leader Raymond Majongwe recently said all unions that represent teachers in Zimbabwe had agreed not to go to work on September 28 until they receive salaries in USDs as per their agreement with the government in 2012.
“A teacher in Murehwa, how does he come to school? The RTGS 3800 that he was paid is not even enough for him to buy underwear for himself and his wife and you want her to come and stand in front of kids without wearing underwear. That is not possible.”
“We are totally incapacitated to report for duty. Transporters want USDs. We are not even protesting. We are simply saying we are incapacitated to turn up for duty,” Majongwe said.