Teachers’ unions on Monday said the government has failed them following its decision to export teachers to Rwanda while the teacher-pupil ratio remains too high in local schools.
More than 400 teachers will be exported to Rwanda in September to join other Zimbabwean teachers already there.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said the country’s schools are understaffed. Said Masaraure:
Our government doesn’t seem to care about delivering on its mandate to provide education to the people as stipulated in section 75 of the Constitution.
The teachers are also severely underpaid, they are leaving in droves to destinations other than Rwanda.
Government should prioritise paying a living wage to retain quality teachers in the country.
Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said by exporting teachers to Rwanda, the government is sending teachers into a lion’s den. He said:
The government is exporting teachers yet the conditions are actually tougher there.
At the moment there is no indication that they shall enjoy better salaries.
This is also despite the fact that we still have local demand for teachers which is well above 20 000 and questions are easily raised on why export what you still need.
It only makes sense when we conclude that the government has failed teachers.
Rwanda has an interest in Zimbabwean teachers because it expects them to be docile and loyal in the face of poor remuneration and harsh working conditions.
Rwanda has not yet attracted teachers from other countries in the SADC region because they are better paid and not readily available to oppressive conditions that Zimbabwean teachers may agree to.
Clearly, Zimbabwean teachers are easy prey to Rwanda’s plans because they are exploitable.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou sees nothing wrong in sending teachers to Rwanda. Zhou said:
We call upon the government to ensure that there are broad government-to-government agreements with many regional and continental countries.
It is prudent to engage teachers’ unions over the agreements in order to maximise cooperation and have a smooth transition that would not disadvantage learners in Zimbabwe.