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Teachers demand US$1 per week from learners

by Staff reporter
02 Feb 2020 at 13:11hrs | Views
SCHOOLS in Hwange and Victoria Falls are reportedly demanding an extra US$1 from each learner per week for teachers to attend class despite the learners having paid fees in full.

The development which authorities say is illegal and an extortion of parents, resembles the banned extra lessons and is reportedly happening in most primary schools with parents divided over the issue.

A snap survey conducted by Sunday News during the week showed that a majority of Government and council schools in Victoria Falls as well as some in Hwange have adopted the trend. Pupils confirmed that those who do not pay were sometimes not given work to do or their school work was not marked.

In some cases, it was the parents who mooted the idea after noticing that their children were spending time without learning at school. Parents are divided with those who cannot afford US$1 per week siding with the Government while those who can are pushing for the sustenance of the development.

"We paid school fees and we are now being made to pay extra money for teachers. We understand that they are incapacitated but how is their situation different from everyone else's? We also don't earn much and why should we subsidise their salaries as if we get better pay," said an angry parent.

Another parent said: "Those working in the tourism industry are the ones pushing for this because they earn forex yet most of us are paid in local currency meaning we have to buy that money from the black market."

This means that a teacher with an average class of 40 learners gets US$40 per week which translates to US$160 per month extra money outside the conventional salary from Government.

Some private institutions in the resort town are reportedly demanding US$5 per pupil per week while some have pegged their school fees in United States dollars and are not accepting local currency.

Contacted for comment, Matabeleland North provincial education director Mr Jabulani Mpofu warned teachers against demanding payment from parents.

"If ever that is happening they should know that it is not allowed. It's like paying incentives which were stopped. I am being told that in some cases it's the parents who initiated the idea and that should stop forthwith," said Mr Mpofu.

Speaking on the sidelines of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) and Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel workshop during the week after striking a salary deal with Government, Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said no civil servant, no matter how incapacitated they were, should demand payment from parents.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Dr Sifiso Ndlovu condemned the practice as unorthodox and bordering on corruption which was against the ethical conduct of the profession.

"It's outside the law for educators to ask children to pay extra fees and we urge our members to avoid this as much as possible because it's corruption, illegal and a criminal way of getting paid," he said.

Source - sundaynews