Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Edgar Moyo, told the Senate yesterday that though teachers’ salaries did not fall under his ministry’s purview, the difference between what teachers had demanded and what the government offered was about US$10.
Teachers were demanding salaries of US$540 and refused to go back to class when school re-opened on 7 February saying they were incapacitated.
The government offered them a 20% salary increase backdated to January and said it would convert part of their salaries into US dollars with effect from 1 March.
Moyo said teachers were starting to go back to classes with 55% back by Wednesday up from 50 % when schools opened.
He said that he hoped this would go up to 80% by Monday since teachers had been given a grace period to report to work by 22 February or get fired.
Bulawayo had the worst attendance at 41.5%.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to say how far are we with the issue of teachers because our children are not learning because teachers are not going to schools. I think our education has gone down because of the strikes by teachers.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much to the Hon. Member who has raised that question. Yes, there is a national concern that teachers are not fully at work. However, our situation is improving by the day. When schools opened last week, the situation was quite dire because we had less than 50% of teachers reporting for work. With measures that have been taken this far, our situation has improved and as of yesterday, we were at about 55% attendance in schools. It is envisaged that going forward, with the moratorium that has been given by Government to allow teachers to go back to work until Monday next week, our hope is that by then our situation will have greatly improved perhaps to over 80%.
In fact, some of the provinces have quite remarkable attendance figures. In Masvingo as of yesterday, we had 85,4% attendance by teachers in schools which was the highest. The lowest was Bulawayo with 41,5% attendance and the average was 54,6%, almost 55%. We think that we are slowly improving and their issues have already been attended to and to the full, if not having been exceeded. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Madam President, I want to know how the issues that are being raised by teachers are being rectified because the teachers are just going to sit in while the children play outside. How are you solving the issue so that the teachers will go to work?
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