BY NIZBERT MOYO/AMOS BATISAYI
LOCAL educators yesterday said there was nothing to celebrate during this year’s World Teachers’ Day commemorations, but applauded plans by the Rwandan government to recruit qualified teachers from Zimbabwe.
They said Rwanda’s proposal would generate foreign currency through exporting knowledge.
Teachers lamented deteriorating working conditions and slave wages, calling on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to urgently look into their plight.
“It is sad to note that government continues to ignore teachers’ grievances,” Amalgamated Rural Teachers of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said.
“Government should remunerate teachers and capacitate our institutions before entering into these bilateral agreements. This will create further teacher shortages in the country since the type of teachers that are needed in Rwanda are the same type of teachers that are in critical shortage here.”
Teachers have been demanding a pay rise, denominated in United States dollars from their employer, a demand government says will plunge the country into an economic crisis.
Last week, Rwanda President Paul Kagame announced during the Rwanda-Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference that he intended to recruit Zimbabwean teachers to revamp his country’s education sector.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said it was a welcome move as Rwanda had a shortage of Science and English teachers.
“This should be a government-to-government agreement and will generate foreign currency for the country. Teachers will also learn a lot from Rwanda since it is more advanced than us in terms of technology,’’ he said.
However, Ndlovu said Zimbabwe would experience brain drain and would need to come up with strategies to train more teachers.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Bulawayo provincial chairperson Vusumuzi Mahlangu said: “Government should officialise such programmes because if it does so, a lot of teachers would want to go to Rwanda. The government is ill-treating teachers. It does not treasure them. This is a situation where another country is seeing gold out of Zimbabwean teachers.”
Mahlangu said some qualified teachers were on the streets seeking to supplement their incomes, while others were unemployed.