THE stance being taken by the government of Zimbabwe on negotiations with teachers has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the so-called ‘new dispensation’ has failed to walk the talk in as far as addressing the plight of educators and providing quality education is concerned.
Zimbabwean teachers continue to earn far below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) in a highly inflationary environment and this has largely incapacitated them to report for duty.
On the other hand, the government continues to criminalise trade unionism within the education sector while labelling teacher unions as ‘regime change agents and agents of the West’.
On several occasions, teacher unions’ leaders have been abducted and arrested for demanding that the government pays them a living wage.
Recently, a senior government official, George Charamba threatened drastic action against teacher unions and labelled them as agents of the West in a development that could result in increased clampdown of teacher unions’ leaders.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson, Marvelous Khumalo bemoaned that the government was prioritising politics at the expense of addressing issues within key sectors which include the education sector.
“What is surprising to the general populace is that the government committed in 2017 when thy came into power that they were going to address all the problematic sectors including the education sector and President Mnangagwa promised education for all yet the same government is failing and even not interested in addressing the plight of teachers. Teachers are saying they are not capacitated and they need at least a wage that is sustainable to their livelihoods and their demands in this highly inflationary economy.
“But when it comes to interests of politicians, they are easily addressed but when teachers invite the same politicians to the negotiating table, they are given all sorts of names . They are given names and labelled as regime change agents yet these teachers are patriotic citizens that want to see an education sector that is vibrant, sustainable and of quality,” said Khumalo.
He implored the government to show sincerity and listen to the genuine concerns of the teachers rather than to politic.
Khumalo said the current stance by the government in addressing the plight of teachers can only serve to plunge the education sector into deeper crisis.
“We implore the government to make sure that they listen to the teachers and address their issues because the future of this nation lies in the hands of the teachers,” said Khumalo.