Zimbabwe cannot afford to live as an island, but needs international investors to quickstart the economy so it can pay descent salaries to its civil servants, Education minister David Coltart has said.
Addressing parents, teachers and school development committee members after touring Mosi-Oa–Tunya Secondary School in Victoria Falls on Friday, Coltart said the ongoing teachers’ strike was inevitable given the poor state of the economy.
“We need to restore the teacher’s status and respect in society,” the minister said. “However, the ability to pay teachers a viable salary dependents on us (the government) being able to resuscitate the economy.
“Resuscitation of the economy is only possible if we restore good relationships with the rest of the world. We need investment, but some of us are not being very supportive.”
Coltart said big companies like Apple, Intel and Epson were in the country for the Southern Africa ICT Education conference and expressed interest in investing in the education sector.
“If companies open, people are employed and taxes are paid to the fiscus, then there will be money to pay teachers more,” the minister said.
Coltart also reiterated the need for a mop-up exercise in the civil service structure to weed out ghost workers.
“We also have to deal with the devil called corruption.
We understand some mines are functioning and making adequate profits that should benefit the society, but sadly some of the proceeds cannot be accounted for as few individuals benefit.
“So we need to deal with corruption. We need to deal with ghost workers and clean up the sector to restore it,” he said.
Coltart said over 2 000 primary and secondary schools throughout the country had received textbooks to date for all subjects.