The strike by Zimbabwe’s teachers, which has crippled education since classes were allowed to resume on 28 September for examination classes and 26 October for those writing examinations next year, is likely to be resolved within days, according to Deputy Public Service Minister Lovemore Matuke.
Responding to a question from Dzivaresekwa legislator Edwin Mushoriwa in Parliament yesterday on what the ministry was doing to ensure that the teachers come back into the classroom, Matuke said: “I think it is common cause that there are problems in terms of labour relations currently in the ministry and different government agencies are working on that. We are confident that in the next few days or so, a settlement is going to be arrived at. Looking at the balance of probabilities, we think that sufficient progress is being made towards that end.”
Zimbabwe decided to re-open schools in phases with examination classes starting first, followed by those writing examinations next year and finally the rest of the pupils on 9 November.
Teachers’ unions, however, said their members would not report for work because they were incapacitated.
The unions said they wanted their members to be paid the equivalent of US$520 a month a nearly four-fold increase from their current salaries.
The government has said it cannot pay the teachers in foreign currency.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his administration would not be held to ransom by the striking teachers.
““Teachers are at work now; it is a question of how many are at work and how many are not. Minister Mavima is definitely handling that issue professionally with the relevant teachers’ representatives, but I want them back at work. All schools are open anyway which means there are teachers at schools,” Education Minister Cain Mathema said yesterday, referring to Public Service Minister Paul Mavima.