BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
TEACHER unions have challenged parents burdened by private lesson charges to support their demand for United States dollar salaries.
Teachers have been forced to conduct extra lessons to make ends meet.
In Harare, they charge anything between US$10 and US$20 per child a month.
Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary Tapedza Zhou said extra lessons were illegal, but teachers had no option but to make a living.
“We never encourage teachers to conduct extra lessons, we do not condone them.
Therefore, parents have an unexplored option of knocking on the government’s doors if they feel short-changed,” Zhou said.
“They must not negotiate down the prices of extra lessons.
Instead, they must air their grievances to government, which is the vanguard of the right to education.
Extra lessons are also an assault to the pride and dignity of our esteemed teachers.”
Teachers are demanding pre-October 2018 salary of US$540.
Government has said it has no capacity to meet their demands and recently gave them a 20% salary increase, US$100 allowance plus other non-monetary benefits.
Teachers have rejected the offer.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure called on parents to unite with teachers in demanding better salaries for the
“The mandate to provide education, according to our Constitution, is on the shoulders of the government.
Parents and teachers have no responsibility for funding education, they are struggling.
It’s very unfortunate that we have a government which has abdicated duty, failing to fund basic education and pay teachers,” he said.
“At the end of the day, teachers strive to get something from poor parents, which is very unfortunate.
It is an issue of a class forced to divide itself, the ruling class are benefiting while neglecting the working class.
We call upon parents and teachers to unite, confront duty bearers and demand the right to education.
This mandate should remain within the armpits of the government and we should force it to pay education.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou added: “There is no need for extra lessons as they bring disparities among students dependent on the cash a parent has.
“The best remedy is for the government to pay teachers well and advise parents to stop dangling the poisoned carrot of extra payment under the guise of conducting extra lessons.
Teachers must be paid well enough so that they can assist students freely.”
Meanwhile, Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro told NewsDay that government was working with the to flush out those charging for extra lessons.
“Extra lessons remain illegal. We are working hand-in-glove with Zacc and culprits will be brought to book,” he said.
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