TEACHERs unions yesterday berated Finance minister Mthuli Ncube for failing to address challenges facing the education sector while demanding that the 2024 budget should work towards resolving perennial issues.
They said the budget should make free education a reality for all learners across the country without discrimination.
In 2023, teachers demanded that Ncube allocates at least 20% of the national budget to the education sector, which they said was in shambles.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general Goodwill Taderera said: “As far as we are concerned as Zimta and as civil servants in general, we anticipate that this time around the government will recognise us.”
Calling on Ncube to allocate 22% of the budget to education, he added: “The President is on record saying when he got in as the second republic, he was looking at capital projects and he indicated to us that he is now looking at the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe, teachers included.
“We are expecting a salary that is aligned with the efforts and amount of work we do. We do not want to see our teachers moonlighting, and (offering) extra lessons. We expect a salary upwards of US$800 to sincerely cater for all the expenses we have incurred.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure (pictured) said the 2024 budget should address the glaring deficits in the education sector.
“The government should adhere to the provisions of both the Dakar declaration and the Incheon declaration by allocating at least 20% of total budget towards education or 5-6% of GDP (gross domestic product) towards education,” he said.
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“The budget should cover employment costs and still leave enough resources to fund the demands of the Constitution and the Education Act as amended in 2020. State-funded education is now compulsory so the government should avail resources to cater for tuition grants for learners from ECD (early childhood development) to Form 4.”
Masaraure suggested that a minimum of US$13 per child should be allocated for provision of sanitary pads for girls to fulfil the provisions of the Education Act.
“We are demanding a substantial allocation towards infrastructural development, to upgrade satellite schools and infrastructure in rural schools and other marginalised communities.
“The previous budget allocated around US$1,60 per child for the schools feeding programme. We demand at least US$0,50 per child per day in school for meals. Schools can innovatively mobilise additional resources to provide food for all learners.
“To cover employment costs, the Treasury should budget at least US$1 260 per teacher per month, to boost teacher morale,” Masaraure added.
Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said as a union, they expected Ncube to be serious about raising teachers’ standards of living.
“The minster should address long forgotten sector specific allowances for Teachers. He should spell out concrete plans for accommodation for teachers, given that the government no longer cares about where rural teachers are residing when they teach. A substantial amount should be put towards providing clean water for teachers in rural areas,” Zhou said.