BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
PARLIAMENT has urged the government to negotiate with teachers on their demands without politicising issues and come up with a favourable outcome that will restore the dignity of the educators in order to secure the future of children.
The recommendations were made by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education after deliberating on a petition by teachers unions.
Chairperson of the Education committee Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said although the government has a negotiating platform, teachers felt alienated from that framework.
She said teachers’ welfare should be prioritised and the platform for negotiation should be strengthened through amending appropriate legislation.
“We were thinking if that happens, we may be able to move faster than we have been doing around negotiations.”
She added: “While negotiations between the government and the teachers have centred on salaries, I am now repeating, there is a need to broaden the issues that are associated with some of these things.”
The committee also encouraged the Public Service ministry to engage teachers and appreciate their challenges.
“The Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry and the Public Service Commission (PSC) should create an informal communication framework with unions for purposes of engaging on pertinent issues relating to the welfare of the civil service,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
The committee also urged the PSC to introduce a tuition fee waiver for up to three children attending public schools per teacher by October 2021.
The PSC, Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, should regrade job posts in the teaching profession and civil service widely to reflect the reporting hierarchy and professional qualifications in order to restore the dignity and authority of the manager over subordinates.
“We plead with both parties and in this instance, the government and teachers have a responsibility to ensure that the future of our children is in the right hands,” she said.
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