BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has commended its members for being resolute to serve the country despite poor working conditions and distractions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement to commemorate World Teachers’ Day which falls today, Zimta said government had an obligation to address the welfare of educators to guarantee a thriving education system.
“The theme for this year Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery is a befitting one in celebration of teachers, who despite all the odds persevered with exemplary leadership amid the COVID-19 crisis and pedagogical shifts,” Zimta said.
“With passion, our educators applied their skills and sophistry to organise and support learners. Despite these difficult experiences, we still have to build back better, with teachers at the heart of education recovery.”
The teachers organisation added: “Being at the centre of recovery means the nation has an obligation to provide for quality education, learners, teachers and all education support personnel, all hands-on deck, to resuscitate education and ensure that teaching and learning continues to occur despite the odds. Education cannot wait.”
In an interview with NewsDay, Zimta spokesperson Daisy Zambuko said there was need for government to take heed of the teachers’ grievances to ensure that the education system thrives despite other challenges.
“It is sad that we have lost a number of our members from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
“Despite a number of challenges that our sector is facing, which include very low wages, and poor working environment, teachers have remained resolute to serve the country. Teachers are not being rewarded for their hard work. They lack appreciation from their employer, the government. They are undervalued.
“However, on this day, we are celebrating the importance of teachers for the general development of the country. We ask government to address the grievances of the teachers so that they have all the motivation they need to perform their duties to their best.”
Globally, the Teachers’ Day is commemorated on October 5 every year, but in Zimbabwe this year, the celebrations are being held at a time when disgruntled teachers have resolved to attend duty for only two days per week in protest over poor salaries.
Teachers are demanding the pre-October 2018 salary levels of between US$520 and US$550 per month or their equivalent in local currency.
But several meetings held between government and workers unions to resolve the salary impasse have ended in deadlock, with government insisting that it could not afford to pay teachers in foreign currency.