TEACHERS yesterday warned that a strike was inevitable when schools open next week unless the government act fast to meet their demands to raise salaries from the current $500 to $3 000 per month among other demands.
BY KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA/ NIZBERT MOYO
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe told NewsDay that they were still waiting for a positive response to their petition, which they presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a meeting last month.
“Schools will not open if the demands we put forward to the government are not met. What they should understand is that I represent the teachers and this is what they are saying. They (teachers) don’t have the money to even report for duty,” Majongwe said.
“Prices of basic goods have gone up, bus fares have gone up and the salaries have not gone up. Government should act fast before schools open.”
In the petition presented to Mnangagwa, teachers also said they wanted payment for invigilating Grade Seven examinations as well as the introduction of special teacher allowances among many other demands.
According to Majongwe, Mnangagwa pledged to look into the issues before making a formal response.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said the 3 000 teachers which government want to employ were too few considering that at least 20 000 new educators were needed to fill the existing gaps.
“Teachers must be employed as this is the right thing to do, but the figure is too low. There is very little excitement about this figure. We have a shortage of 19 000 teachers who need to be replaced according to the new curriculum. The pupil to teacher ratio is at 1:70 and sometimes goes up to 1: 101 in worst case scenarios. If we look at the budget it was not increased and is at a standstill,’’ Ndlovu said.
He said the teacher to pupil ratio must be reduced to 1:25 at infant, 1:30 at junior level.
The government on Monday announced that it will from tomorrow up to Thursday recruit 3 000 teachers in a bid to improve the teacher to pupil ratio as it moves to enhance the quality of education in schools.