Teachers’ unions have condemned the formation of a new union for teachers recently approved by the government with the moniker “Teachers for ED (Economic Development)”.
A circular dated 22 June 2022 written by the secretary of Primary and Secondary Education Tumisang Thabela to all provincial education directors revealed that the structures for the union were already in place in the country’s 10 provinces.
Speaking in an interview with NewsDay, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe national secretary-general Robson Nikita Chere urged teachers to ignore the Teachers4ED union. Said, Chere:
We urge the teachers to disregard, disapprove and dismiss the abuse of the teaching profession through commissariat schemes played by the regime under the guise of such unions.
Like any other worker or profession, teachers should be left free and distant from partisan politics except if it is voluntary.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe under sections 64 and 65 clearly makes a demand for good administrative conduct, and that means administrative conduct that is free from political intrusion.
… To come in dark garments of Teachers for ED and pretending to have solutions to our suffering is only aimed at harvesting votes from the education sector.
Educators’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said:
If teachers publicly align themselves to a certain political party, it will not only be prejudicial to their service but is a serious act of misconduct.
We condemn all moves that are divisive and discriminatory to teachers.
Government officials and party officials have an obligation to assist in ensuring that all teachers remain non-partisan as it is a precondition for the smooth delivery of service to the State.
Progressive Teachers Union president Takavafira Zhou described the new union as “a masquerade”. Zhou said:
Worse still this masquerade has solicited the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s assistance in order to launch its provincial and national structures and was granted permission on 25 July 2022. Teachers must smell a rat.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro authorising the formation of the Teachers for Economic Development union is in line with the government’s mantra, “Leaving Noone Behind”. He said:
As an inclusive government that leaves no one behind, we have no objection to the formation of the new teachers’ union as its formation will greatly assist in the sustainability of teachers’ upper middle-income class status.
I can tell you for certain that with such kind of teachers’ unions that are focused on economic development, issues of teachers’ industrial action will soon be a thing of the past as these teachers utilise their skills for the economic emancipation and welfare of the nation.