Govt incentive divides teachers

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Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
EDUCATORS have described as a divide and rule tactic government’s recent decision to pay school fees for their children as an incentive to cushion them from the high cost of living.

Government offered a 20% salary increment to civil servants in February and announced several incentives, including payment of fees for children of teachers.

The pledge has not yet been fulfilled, which has prompted the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) to write to Finance minister Mthuli Ncube reminding him that government had not yet fulfilled its promises.

In response to the concerns raised by Artuz, and in a letter dated April 11, 2022, Ncube said the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and the Public Service Commission (PSC) were currently gathering information to ascertain those teachers who were eligible to benefit from the scheme.

“Treasury notes your submission and has forwarded this to the PSC, who are seized with co-ordinating the drawing up of the modalities for implementation of the benefit. I am aware that the PSC and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education have already started the process of gathering information on eligible members to benefit from payment of school fees,” he said.

But teachers, who spoke to NewsDay, said the incentive was a divide and rule tactic by government as it would benefit some teachers, while leaving out others.

“Government should just pay all teachers’ salaries to cater for their day-to-day needs. It’s not practical for government to deal with financial problems of individual teachers,” a teacher, Alexander Madondo, said.

“Even for those teachers who are eligible, the policy is also inconsistent. Some have many children while others have few. More so, the children learn at different schools where they pay different fees.”

Artuz president Obert Masarure said: “All teachers are disgruntled because salaries are not enough. Every teacher should benefit from government incentives. They must not be divisive. Teachers need salaries that can cater for their basic needs. Given a decent salary, it is up to the teacher to decide the type of school he or she wants to send his or her children to.”

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou, however, said: “It does not matter that others are not eligible because it is just an incentive. Government cannot stop offering the incentive because some do not have children. What matters most is the issue of salaries. We continue calling on government to remain committed to ensure that teachers have decent salaries.”

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