Teachers’ representative groups on Sunday jointly expressed concern over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s remarks with regards to teachers’ salaries and condition of service.
The president had assured the nation that the “government will never be held to ransom by teachers” who were failing to report for duty in a bid to push government “to do what they want.”
Teachers responded in a joint statement saying they were not deterred by threats since “incapacitation is greater than any threat.” Read the statement in part:
We are worried that His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa, made remarks threatening teachers on industrial action before seeking engagement and remaining indifferent to the plight of the teachers. Teachers are not for charity, but professionals who are only crying for dignified treatment, reasonable salaries and befitting conditions of service.
We are shocked by some acts of ‘benevolence’ in the form of food handouts by some misguided elements who want to hijack the teachers’ incapacitation for personal aggrandisement. The nation should know that teachers in all public schools are not at work because the government has failed them and will not succumb to any threats. Where there are incidents of teaching taking place, it is just cosmetic.
Salary negotiations between the government and teachers did not yield expected results as teachers viewed offers by the government as insignificant in light of the soaring inflation.
The government recently reviewed the cost of living adjustment by 40 percent but teachers still refused to return to work.
Workers are on average earning an equivalent of US$35 which is below the poverty datum line.
Meanwhile, learners are reportedly engaging in mischievous acts as there few teachers (29%) in schools to be monitoring them.