The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has urged the government to use the time schools will be deferred to address the remuneration dispute with teachers.
The union said it won’t make sense to reopen schools later on without the learning and teaching processes happening, as “our members will only work if the money is worth it, not this US$110.”
The teachers also want the government to look into their health and safety and of students when schools reopen amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The government last week postponed the reopening of schools in 2022 as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only students who are returning to write the remainder of their 2021 Ordinary and Advanced level final examinations are returning to school this week.
However, PTUZ president Takafira Zhou says while the deferment of the opening of schools is welcome, it will be useless if the government does not use this period to engage teachers in meaningful dialogue, address their parlous salaries and conditions of service. He told NewZimbabwe.com:
The government should also prioritise the health and safety of teachers and pupils by providing Covid-19 abatement equipment to schools, and testing teachers and pupils before conglomeration in schools. Any attempt to discard professional advice that we constantly give will be disastrous.
Zhou called for the restoration of the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries pegged at US$540 they earned until 2018.
The PTUZ also urged the government to act on the exorbitant school fees pegged by some schools. Most schools are pushing for school fee increases of up to 300% to cushion them against the depreciating local currency.