BY VANESSA GUZHA
Government has admitted that teachers are not reporting for duty and the few that are going to work are not conducting lessons.
In a post-Cabinet Press statement yesterday, government insisted it would strictly reinforce its policy of docking salaries for truant teachers.
“Cabinet was informed that the number of teachers reporting for duty had decreased,” part of the minutes read.
“It is further noted that some of those reporting for duty are not teaching.
“Cabinet wishes to reiterate that negotiations for improved conditions of service remain open under the National Joint Negotiating Council and that the no-work, no-pay policy will be strictly enforced.”
Teachers have rejected a 70% staggered salary hike from their employer, declaring incapacitation, with teachers unions urging their members to report for duty only two days a week.
Despite the threats to withhold salaries, teachers have vowed to stay at home until government addresses their salary grievance.
The educators are demanding that government pays them pre-October 2018 salaries of between US$520 and US$550, or their equivalent in local currency.
Yesterday, government also announced that it would introduce strict surveillance in communities around schools where COVID-19 cases broke out last week.
“Cabinet notes that the strong COVID-19 surveillance system that government had put in place had enabled the ministry to detect outbreaks early,” the minutes read.
“Cabinet was informed that on April 16, 2021, more outbreaks were reported at two boarding schools, namely St Davids Bonda Girls School, in Manicaland and Embakwe High School in Plumtree.
“One hundred and forty-five 145 and 91 learners tested positive, respectively. Government would like to re-assure the nation that the situation is under control and all the cases are mild and asymptomatic.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is testing and vaccinating members in the adjoining communities where the schools are located.
“All those found positive have been quarantined. The ministries of Primary and Secondary Education; and Health and Child Care have intensified enforcement of the COVID-19 standard operating procedures in all schools and those found violating COVID-19 preventive measures will be sanctioned.”
There are fears that the country might be experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 following a recent surge in new infections in schools.