The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said that 60 per cent of teachers nationwide reported for duty on Monday when schools opened for the first term.
The ministry’s spokesperson Taungana Ndoro told NewsDay that teachers at peri-urban and rural schools reported for duty while some educators were still on their way to their workplaces. Ndoro said:
We had a 60% turnout of teachers nationwide. Those that did not report for duty are from metropolitan areas, while teachers from peri-urban and rural areas reported for duty. Other teachers are still en route to their stations.
In Harare and Bulawayo and several other cities, teachers and school heads failed to report for duty citing “incapacitation”.
Educators are pushing the Government to pay their salaries in US dollars to cushion them from the rising cost of living.
In a statement on Monday evening, Primary and Secondary Education secretary Tumisang Thabela, however, claimed that the majority of teachers reported for duty. She said:
Government is pleased to note that schools have opened, that the majority of teachers reported for duty and that the majority of schoolchildren were able to attend classes.
In instances where students and pupils were unable to attend, government awaits definitive information on the reasons, so as to respond appropriately.
However, a parent from Highfields told NewsDay that she sent her children to Tsungayi Primary School, but they returned home as there were no teachers. She said:
There were no teachers at the school. We saw officials from the Primary and Secondary Education ministry entering the school.
They must know that teachers are very important and must be paid well so that they report for duty.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) called on employers, including the Government, to pay their employees in US dollars. ZCTU said in a statement:
Schools opened today with no word from the employer on the US dollar salaries for the dedicated suffering teacher.
The market is refusing Zimdollars and we demand that all workers be paid in US dollars as dictated by the market.