Various teachers’ unions have implored their members to stop conducting extra lessons, saying it is the government’s responsibility to pay teachers and not parents and guardians who cannot afford the fees being charged.
Reports indicate that some teachers have established makeshift schools at their homes, where they charge between US$5 and US$10 per subject for secondary school pupils and up to US$5 for primary school learners per month.
Teachers are currently reporting for duty for only two days per week, citing incapacitation after the government refused to meet their salary demands.
Zimbabwe Teachers Union (ZTU) secretary-general Goodwill Taderera told NewsDay that extra lessons robbed parents of their hard-earned cash as there was no control over what the teachers charged for services outside the normal system.
Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (ZNTU) chief executive Manuel Nyawo said teachers should not put the salary burden on parents who are not their employer but should direct their umbrage towards the government. He said:
Let us refuse to be paid by parents who are not the employer, and let us direct our shots to the employer.
By accepting or demanding incentive bribes, we are sanitising a wrong which also gives a wrong impression of the situation in schools.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe concurred with his colleagues. He said:
We don’t encourage our members to conduct extra lessons and demand cash because the practice gives parents an unnecessary burden.
But we must not ignore the fact that if teachers were not conducting extra lessons last year, the pass rates we are talking about would have been reduced to single digits.
However, conducting extra lessons spoils the struggle for a real wage as those in the elite schools opt for the quick money and abandon the broader struggle.
The government banned teachers from conducting extra lessons several years ago and has warned that disciplinary action will be taken against teachers who charge for extra lessons.