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Years of teacher tears

12 Feb 2022 at 08:31hrs | Views
Over the years, the Zanu PF regime's response to teachers' grievances has been lip service from a place of lack of concern and a mere want to get the impoverished teachers back to work. Beginning of this year, we saw teachers facing brutality to hold them down from airing of their overdue and frequently overlooked yet very legitimate concerns.

We saw detention of the lawfully demonstrating 16 teachers. They appeared in court with feet chained as though there are criminals. The regime wished to send a message of terror to mute the voices of the hungry teachers. The teachers' cry has been of hunger while doing their best to serve the nation's education. A hungry teacher's presence in the classroom is mediocre and mere fulfilment of duty.

On the 8th of February, the Permanent Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Mrs Thabela threatened the clearly incapacitated teachers, calling for their names to be submitted for terror and torture, but the ZINUSH refused. The government has been using the principle of divide and rule, causing boards like ZINUSH and ZIMTA to sell teachers out on their struggle, but this time ZINUSH refused and it remains for ZIMTA not to sell out the struggle.

In the desperation to let the wind blow over and not out of real concern, the president releases a mocking open letter proposing;a) The current salary of 18 000 RTGS, a deduction of interbank rate equivalent of US$100 which will be paid to teachers in hard currency,b) The reminder of the salary which is 6000 RTGS to be increased by 20%.

There was mention of US$175 to be given to teachers in hard currency, counting in the US$75 Covid allowance which the government can withdraw at any moment.

In my summation, the remaining RTGS salary, with its increment sums up to US$30 using the black market rate which teachers will use to buy foreign currency in an economy that now prices everything in US dollars. The salary therefore is US$ 130 plus US$75 Covid allowance. In Zimbabwe rainy season tomatoes are going for US$1 for four. The teachers' March payment of US$205 buys 51 tomatoes.

The letter promises non-monetary incentives like fees for teacher's children of 20 000 RTGS, money not enough for half the schools in the urban area, money not half of universities' fees, money with no promise of revising the amount in a casino economy of inflation like Zimbabwe. There were promises of building teachers' blocks and flats, this by a government that fails to make roads, and all roads in the nation are potholed. There were other flimsy promises like duty freevehicles bought by teachers, as teachers who earn US$130 can ever be able to buy cars.This is such an unprogressive dialogue that the government intends with the release of such a letter. It is mockery of the teachers by government officials whose single sit in the cabinet earns them allowances way more than a teacher's whole month's salary.

The teachers deserve more than US$540 which they have settled for in their demand. There's need to restore their dignity and eradicate the poverty and shame they have endured in society for years and with no consolation. There's need to redeem the education sector and the future of all Zimbabwean children which Zanu pf clearly does not care about, maybe because their children learn abroad at expensive institutions. #SaveOurEducationZw#ZimbabweanLivesMatter 

Source - Nontokozo Malaba Ncube
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