Some schools are headed for a collision course with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education after re-introducing teacher incentives, a practice that was banned by the government several years ago.
School Development Committees (SDCs) are reportedly pushing the initiative for the various schools.
The incentives are drawn from the money paid for extra lessons and registers are used to keep track of those who would have paid up.
Parents are divided over the development, with some saying they will do “whatever is good for our kids”, while others have shot down their idea arguing that not only teachers are incapacitated but all workers.
Manica Post reports that at Gaza Primary School in Chipinge, parents are paying US$1 per term, while Mt Selinda and Gaza High parents rejected the initiative.
Parents at Kriste Mambo (Rusape), Hartzell High (Mutasa), Mavhudzi High (Nyazura) have proposed that a payment of US$10 per term should go towards the teachers’ incentives.
Zimbabwe School Development Association/Committees (ZSDA/C) general secretary, Everisto Jongwe, admitted that the practice is rampant in several schools. He said:
SDCs in urban and boarding schools are advocating for the re-introduction of teachers’ incentives as a measure to ensure that their children get quality education.
However, there is no evidence that teachers’ incentives increase students’ performance, attendance or changes the teachers’ behaviour.
National Association of Secondary Heads president, Arthur Maphosa, also condemned the practice saying most incentives are disguised as donations. Said Maphosa:
This practice has the undesirable effect of disadvantaging children from poor families. Incentives are divisive and tend to segregate children.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said nothing has changed and the practise remains illegal.
Teachers are currently earning between $17 000 and $22 000, which they say is below the poverty datum line.
But they are demanding the restoration of their pre-October 2018 salaries of between US$520 and US$550 or their equivalent in the local currency (between $44 200 and $46 750 at the current official exchange rate).