Three-quarters of Zimbabwean teachers are suffering from stress-related challenges due to poor salaries and working conditions, a report has shown.
According to preliminary research findings by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), at least 75% of Zimbabwean teachers are stressed.
The findings further show that all teachers have mentally resigned from their jobs even though physically, they remain at their workplaces.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou told NewsDay that the survey was conducted on a national level through zonal, district, and provincial discussions with several school representatives. Zhou said:
Due to stress-related challenges, cases of conflict in schools have escalated, with 75% of teachers suffering from stress-related challenges leading to an increase in alcoholism and suicide cases.
There is a need for urgent intervention by the government in order to protect the education system from total collapse and degeneration.
Such a reprieve must ensure that teachers are paid a living wage as professionals.
It is criminal to entrust the education system to angry, miserable and poorly-paid teachers.
… The level of underpayment of teachers in Zimbabwe has reached an unprecedented scale.
Teachers have fallen from grace to grass with monotonous regularity under the so-called new dispensation.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure told NewsDay that a mental health crisis is brewing in the education sector. He said:
Our schools are being manned by people who should be at rehabilitation centres.
The surge in violence and drug abuse in schools is evidence of a deep-rooted mental health crisis.
Teachers have been on sick leave from Monday to Wednesday nursing stress after the payday insult of February 17.
Last year, teachers went on strike demanding the restoration of their pre-October 2018 salary of US$540 to make ends meet.
According to the labour unions, teachers are currently earning below ZWL$50 000 and an additional US$200 in allowances.