By Thembani Mutanda
Teachers earn an average of RTGS 4000 and the PDL is at $250 000 RTGS and still teachers ought to go back to work on 28 September and start teaching with the exam classes pencilled to write in December 2020 and nothing is said about the non-writing forms and grades.
They are dead and their stubbornness makes them go back to school using their resources borrowed from sympathetic relatives.
Where did this all begin?
They say teaching is a noble profession, teaching is an essential service, patriotism entails going to work to serve the public, to be a teacher in a community was a revered role until the period around 2000s when inflation started to rock the country.
These are the people who had bottle stores, shops, grinding mills, butcheries and plots and these are the people to whom Christmas was there through-out the year, these are the people who supported the liberation struggle and they were detained for their roles, these are the people who are scorned today and everyone treat them with contempt and disdain.
Some observers contend that the ruling party is uncomfortable with teachers since that historic referendum in 2000 where the former president was defeated and someone whispered in his ear that teachers had betrayed him by campaigning for a Vote No ticket. These are myths propagated on social media but no one has the dossier as to when the rain began to beat teachers when in the early 80’s teaching was a profession of choice.
Stories come about when human cannot fathom the callous way in which teachers are treated and due to COVID-19 restrictions, teachers had to go on a long holiday since 24 March 2020. It is not every teacher who stays at his/her station. Some come from Binga and they were deployed in Beitbridge. Soon after the promulgation of the lockdown, they went back to Binga.
This is the person who is threatened with expulsion from the civil service if he does not get to school by Monday next week. Surely, give the guy a break.
Already eight unions, ARTUZ, ZIMTA, PTUZ among other five have already expressed their concerns to government after the negotiations reached a deadlock citing lack of proper engagements after the announcement of school opening dates.
” Government has totally ignored the welfare of teachers as evidenced by salaries that were paid to teachers in September while the total consumption poverty line (TCPL) for a family of five is now above ZWL 17 244 as given by Zimstats”
Teachers have been requesting to get their salaries in US dollars and or have the same amount calculated using the current bank exchange rate.
Unions further raised questions over the discriminatory behavour by government after paying salaries with vivid discrepancy gaps between teachers and other civil servants.
“Surprised by the continued salary discrepancies between teachers and other civil servants, especially the uniformed forces, united in our diversity by our common desire for entrenchment of a credible quality public education system in Zimbabwe”
Caleb Tiki, a secondary school teacher from Chipinge, wondered if the authorities ever regard teaching as a profession or they want the society to have a condescending attitude towards the chalk people.
‘’I know it is not good to compare our conditions of service with other members of the civil service but for one to allow the punching of RTGS 4 000 into one’s bank account without batting an eyelid is the height of idiocy. Everything is rising and the civil servant has to live from hand to mouth. This allows the cancer of corruption to pervade the society” he said.
he further added, “teachers do not have windows of opportunities to engage in corrupt activities’’.
A cursory survey by Post on Sunday shows that more than 90% of schools are not ready to open because they do not have the requisite protective clothes that make them COVID-19 compliant, and the ministry has since responded without actual facts as to how they wish to handle Covid-19 regulations.
Schools last got fees from their students in the first term and right now they are in their negative and the government has not gone on to help these schools cope with the vagaries of COVID-19. It has been much ado about nothing, all talk and no action will have body bags in our boarding schools and we will cry foul, one teacher form Manicaland said.
One school pegged its fees at $35 000 RTGS not denying that the fees increases are justified, at this moment, a teacher earns $3000 because of many deductions. How will he/she get the $35 000 RTGS in the next seven days for her son to be given a meal tickets?
Unions are sleeping on duty while the teachers can’t breathe. Social media is awash with teachers who complain about the union leaders’ lifestyle and they want an immediate act of justifying their taking of members’ subscriptions and pointing fingers at each other is an age old technique of divide and rule.
Service providers continue to increase their premiums and they adjust them to the dollar, Doves has sent reminders that the basic premium is now RTGS 880, PSMAS had already adjusted and the teacher among other citizens surely cannot afford.
Will schools open next week? It is a matter of conjecture but these people are on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Some of them survive by informal trading, with some said to be doing gold panning in various provinces and being at school hems them into a straitjacket.
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