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Government undecided over teacher incentives

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GOVERNMENT has not yet decided on whether to retain or scrap teachers’ incentives as the issue hinged on new civil servants’ salary perks likely to be unveiled soon, NewsDay has learnt.

WONAI MASVINGISE, SENIOR REPORTER

Education minister Lazarus Dokora yesterday told NewsDay that it was too early to speculate about teachers’ incentives as the salary issue had not yet been finalised.

In the run-up to the July 31 elections, President Robert Mugabe pledged to hike civil servants’ salaries saying they were long overdue with public service unions demanding nothing less than $600 for the least-paid worker.

“You want to be speculative. We are not discussing the issue of incentives at the moment. Right now I cannot tell you whether they will remain or not. When anything happens, we will come to you and we will let you know,” Dokora said.

Teacher incentives were introduced by former Education minister David Coltart to cushion local teachers after they were among the least-paid as compared to their counterparts in Southern Africa.

Rural teachers were currently getting State-paid incentives amounting to 20% of their gross salaries translating to an average of $84 a month.

However, urban teachers in government schools were getting between $150 and $300 from parents as incentives.

“While the issue of teacher incentives is highly topical, it should be noted that it applies to a small proportion of schools, mostly in urban areas, approximately 38% of the total number of schools in the country,” Dokora said.

“The ministry has held wide-ranging consultations with various stakeholders, including responsible authorities, teachers’ associations, school development committees and the generality of parents. From these consultations the effects of incentives on the quality of service delivery have been noted and measures are underway to address stakeholders’ concerns on this issue, with particular emphasis on the best interest of the learner.”

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