BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
TEACHERS unions have urged their members to stop conducting extra lessons, saying it further marginalised pupils whose guardians cannot afford the fees being charged.
The representatives said it was government’s responsibility to ensure that the welfare of teachers was well-catered for, but extra lessons burdened parents who have to pay extra cash after they have already paid fees.
Teachers are currently reporting for duty for only two days per week, citing incapacitation after salary talks with government reached a deadlock.
A survey conducted by NewsDay revealed that some teachers had established makeshift schools at their homes, where they charge between US$5 and US$10 per subject for secondary school pupils and up to US$5 for primary school learners per month.
Government banned teachers from conducting extra lessons,adding that it would take disciplinary action against teachers who charge for extra lessons.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said learners from poor backgrounds whose guardians could not afford the required amounts were being excluded from the education system.
“The provision of education and other basic services should be inclusive to deal with the challenge of inequality in our society,” Masaraure said.
“Public education should be well supported to guarantee quality of service delivered. Teachers and parents should not partner in engaging in illegalities. The two should partner to demand more funding for our education system from government.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Union secretary-general Goodwill Taderera said extra lessons robbed parents of their hard-earned cash as there was no control over what the teachers charged for services outside the normal system.
Zimbabwe National Teachers Union chief executive Manuel Nyawo said if parents were made to meet teachers’ demands, it would result in government abandoning its mandate to pay teachers a reasonable salary.
“Members who are surviving through extra lessons are selfish because the greater part of us have no access to these,” he said.
“Let us refuse to be paid by parents who are not the employer, and let us direct our shots to the employer. By accepting or demanding incentive bribes, we are sanitising a wrong which also gives a wrong impression of the situation in schools.”
But Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said by conducting extra lessons, teachers were responding to a need and a demand as pupils and parents asked for the service.
“We don’t encourage our members to conduct extra lessons and demand cash because the practice gives parents an unnecessary burden,” he said.
“But we must not ignore the fact that if teachers were not conducting extra lessons last year, the pass rates we are talking about would have been reduced to single digits.
“However, conducting extra lessons spoils the struggle for a real wage as those in the elite schools opt for the quick money and abandon the broader struggle.”