Government yesterday admitted there was a crisis in the education sector and was working towards addressing grievances raised by teachers who downed tools last month demanding a living wage.
Teachers downed tools last month when schools reopened for examination classes and have vowed to stay away until government reviews their salaries to at least US$520.
The industrial action has left students unattended, with some reportedly engaging in drug and sexy orgies. Primary and Secondary minister Cain Mathema early this week denied that there is chaos in schools, insisting that teachers were reporting for duty.
However, his deputy Edgar Moyo yesterday told delegates during commemorations of the World Teachers’ Day that all was not well in the education sector.
“Government is aware of the challenges that teachers are facing and is working hard to improve teacher welfare issues,” Moyo said.
“We need to think beyond the COVID-19 and work to build greater resilience on our education system so we can respond quickly and effectively to these and other crises. This means protecting education financing, investing in high-quality teacher workforce as well as improving the welfare of the teachers.”
This came as government deferred a national joint negotiating council meeting to discuss the welfare of civil servants to Monday.
“The meeting was meant to finalise issues a cost of living adjustment for the last quarter of the year. Following a request from the workers to postpone the initially agreed meeting, both parties decided to reschedule the meeting to Monday the 2nd November 2020,” Public Service Commission secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe said in a statement yesterday.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) Sifiso Ndlovu said: “We are in a crisis where we are seeing our schools closed indefinitely because we have been incapacitated. Teachers are coming to our offices to ask for transport money.
“We are starved, the energy to teach is gone, and the nation has to capacitate us so that we can go back to our profession.”
Ndlovu said the educators were not on strike but financially incapacitated to report for duty.
He said they had made several attempts to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa and air out their grievances, but were denied access to him.