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Teachers meet minister over poor pay

by Staff reporter
29 Feb 2024 at 05:02hrs | Views
UNIONS representing teachers on Monday met Primary and Secondary Education minister, Torerai Moyo, over their grievances including their demands for a US$1 200 monthly salary.

The educators are demanding United States dollar salaries to make ends meet in an economy where the local currency has been depreciating sharply, pushing up prices of basic goods and services.

Workers in the private sector are also at loggerheads with their employers as they press for better salaries especially in foreign currency.

Speaking during the meeting with the minister, Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Union of Zimbabwe (FOZEU) president, Akuneni Maphosa, said the educators were wallowing in poverty.

"Let's see the ministry lobbying and promoting so that its employees are taken seriously, and their welfare looked after," Maphosa said.

"The economic issues have also led to a distorted salary structure where senior grades now find themselves being remunerated comparatively lower than their juniors."

"The currency instability and low salaries are a pain in the neck. This has led to situations where teachers' wages are not enough to meet their basic needs, leading to a decline in morale and professional satisfaction." Maphosa said morale among educators had hit rock bottom.

"The case in point is the inspectorate rate. This has affected morale and lowered professional purpose for such officers," he said.

"The ongoing job evaluation exercise in the civil service, while welcome, is shrouded and has fallen short of extensive consultation likely to affect its credibility."

FOZEU secretary-general, Obert Masaraure, insisted that the government should fully fund basic education as prescribed under Section 75 of the Constitution.

Masaraure also cited the Education Act which states that "every child shall be entitled to compulsory basic State-funded education."

"The amendment reinforces that this State-funded education is not optional but is compulsory. It makes it an offence for any parent to keep a child away from school. The offence can attract a jail term of up to 2 years," he said.

Masaraure said the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) programme was failing its beneficiaries who include orphans.

"The doubling of Beam beneficiaries in 2023 has created a lot of challenges for financing of school activities. This is because of the late disbursement of Beam funds to schools by the government," Masaraure said.

Moyo acknowledged challenges in the education sector.

"When I talk about the welfare of teachers, I am also discussing my welfare because I am a fellow teacher," he said.

"I acknowledge that in the past, Beam payments have typically taken a year or two to be completed. After discussing with the Finance minister, we have collectively decided to ensure that this year, Beam disbursements are made promptly."

Source - newsday
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