By Lubalethu Ndlovu
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the country’s biggest teacher organisation, has called upon the government to address the plight of teachers as a matter of urgency in order to avoid a crisis in the education sector.
The call comes at a time when the country’s poorly remunerated civil servants and government are in a salary dead-lock with the former demanding that the lowest-paid worker be given an equivalent of US$475 in the fast depreciating local currency.
ZIMTA last week reported that owing to incapacitation, at least 1 000 of their members failed to report for duty when schools opened for the first term last week.
In an interview with CITE Monday, ZIMTA President, Richard Gundane, said the teachers’ plight was affecting the education sector, with educators no longer carrying out their duties as expected.
“We implore the government to attend to the education sector very soon because from where we are standing we will have a huge problem,” said Gundane.
He further said should the situation continue unabated some teachers would be forced not report for duty daily.
Other teachers, Gundane said, would be forced to focus on private lessons while neglecting their jobs.
The ZIMTA president reiterated that their demand for a salary increment remained unchanged.
“The government has paid cushioning allowances to teachers for this month but we are coming from a position where we are saying that the US$500 we used to get should be converted on an interbank rate and paid to teachers,” he said.
Gundane added they were still waiting for the government to approach them with a response to the demands that they brought forward.
“We need another meeting with the government where they will come forward and tell us what they have decided on the salary demands that we made to them,”ZIMTA President, Richard Gundane.