Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) President Takavafira Zhou has warned political parties against unleashing violence against teachers amid revelations eight school teachers were killed during the 2008 election.
Speaking during the World Teachers’ Day commemorations at McKeurtan Primary School in Bulawayo, Zhou bemoaned what he called the “seriously deteriorated” teachers’ status particularly in Zimbabwe. “Teachers in Zimbabwe are mourning the demise of the teaching profession from grace to grass.” said Zhou.
Zhou said in every election that is held in Zimbabwe teachers have been on the receiving end as some political parties vent their anger on teachers who usually constitute the bulk of the officials who run elections.
“Political parties are positioning themselves for elections possibly next year, which in essence entails victimisation of teachers. In 2008, we lost eight teachers due to political violence. It is our hope that this madness will not recur in the next elections.” said Zhou.
Zhou said teachers were disappointed by the government’s failure to address challenges and problems faced by the profession even after the formation of the inclusive government.
“We demand salaries of $502 for the lowest paid teacher in line with the current PDL (poverty datum line). We also say the educational budget must be at least 22% of the total National Budget,” said Zhou.