Teachers’ unions have urged the Government to reconsider its decision to bar some of their members from conducting the upcoming census because they did not report for duty when schools reopened for the first term on 7 February.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education directed the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats) not to consider teachers who were on strike for the 2022 census exercise scheduled for 7 to 30 April.
Teachers who take part in the exercise will get allowances and the majority of educators would be keen on being involved as they are poorly paid.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said ZimStats, and not the Ministry of Education, should decide on who to draft for the census. Said Majongwe:
As far as I am concerned, it is up to ZimStats to choose who it wants to employ because this responsibility should not be based on any precedence.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said the Government should stop punishing teachers for incapacitation. He said:
The retribution will demoralise teachers and further cripple the education sector. You cannot punish teachers who declared incapacitation by denying them other sources of income.
Government is encouraged to sober up and act responsibly. If it escalates repression, we will be forced to escalate the fight for a living wage.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro insisted that absconding teachers will not take part in the national census. He said:
Teachers can make their recommendations, but the ministry makes policies. Government maintains that teachers who were not reporting for duty will not take part in the census.