GOVERNMENT says it was content with the teacher turnout on Monday when schools opened for the third term amid reports that the educators were on a go-slow pending a full-blown strike.
“We had a massive turnout of teachers in our schools with initial statistics showing that almost 100% of teachers turned up for duty in spite of calls by certain teachers’ unions to embark on a go-slow industrial action,” Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said.
Teachers are demanding United States dollar salaries amid high inflation, which they say has turned them into paupers.
But government has said it has no capacity to meet their salary demands.
Last term, teachers resorted to reporting for duty twice a week in protest against poor remuneration and working conditions.
Ndoro said the ministry would continue to monitor daily teacher attendance “and ensure that effective teaching and learning takes place”.
On Monday, teacher unions said their members reported for duty in protest and out of fear of being suspended or having their salaries docked.
A number of teachers were suspended in February, but the High Court later reversed the suspensions.
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Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (Zinatu) chief executive Manuel Nyawo said teachers, who are incapacitated, begrudgingly reported for duty.
“They are physically at their workstations, while mentally they are not present. Our members are very restive, frustrated and have gone to work under protest,” Nyawo said.
“As Zinatu, we want to appeal to government to act urgently and decisively before hell breaks loose. Our members cannot stomach the suffering and as leadership we are fully behind them.
“The government should expect anything from angry, suffering, hungry, starving and desperate teachers who cannot bear their current deplorable situation.”