Teachers in Zimbabwe today joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Teachers’ day amid calls for the restoration of a dignified wage from the employer (government).
The day, traditionally observed on the 5th of October will this year be celebrated virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic from the 5th to the 12th of this month under the theme, “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Re-imagining the Future”
But in Zimbabwe, since schools re-opened for examination classes last week teachers have been on indefinite strike over poor salaries and working conditions despite a 40 % cost of living adjustment by the government.
Teachers have since rejected the adjustment, describing it as a mockery.
In a statement Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said teachers should be recognized as a formidable unit rather than being bundled into the Apex Council.
“As the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ),it is our strong and fortified belief and conviction that teachers should be engaged, empowered, consulted, motivated, supported, well-remunerated, made to lead and capacitated in order to overcome the crisis at hand as well as shaping the future of our great country.
“PTUZ is on record for calling government to recognize teachers as a formidable entity, which should be engaged as a sector rather than being bundled under the legally defective, moribund, outdated and archaic Apex Council,” said PTUZ
The Union called for the restoration of their October 2018 salaries as it had been ‘clandestinely’ reduced.
“Restoration of the purchasing power of the teachers’ salaries as at October 2018. What government should know is that teachers are not calling for salary increase, but restoration of their salaries that were clandestinely reduced from US$550 to the current equivalent of US$35.
“The teachers have been reduced to vagabonds by the Second Republic that promised too much, but delivered very little so far for teachers. It is our clarion call to government to restore value of teachers’ salaries; prioritization of sector specific allowances, which were once agreed upon in 2019.
” This should also include a reasonable Covid-19 allowance that is a product of consultation, negotiations and engagement rather than the current so called benevolence gesture that is not the international best practice.” said PTUZ
Obert Masaraure president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) said this year’s commemorations come at a time the profession is confronted by two factors- poor wages and Covid-19.
“This year’s teacher’s day comes at a time where Zimbabwean teachers are ceased with the issue of under payment and also confronted as covid-19 pandemic. So we are battling with teacher safety and also teacher remuneration so we coined our theme this year as ‘restoring teacher dignity and re calibrating our education systems’
“When re-calibrating our education system we want to ensure that our education endures during seasons of emergencies, remember cyclone Idai how education was destructed and recently Covid-19 so we should have alternative ways ensuring that learners continue to access education during these crisis seasons.
“Teacher remuneration is one fundamental issue which should be dealt with. As we commemorate the day we are dialoguing around ways of ensuring that we mount pressure on our Government to be able to pay our teachers a living wage and we are simply demanding the restoration of our USD520 which we used to earn.” said Masaraure.