'Don't scrap teacher incentives'

HARARE - Former Education minister David Coltart, has urged government not to rescind teachers’ incentives until it is able to pay educators decent salaries.

There have been reports that the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is mulling withdrawing teachers’ incentive saying only 38 percent of the schools, especially those in urban areas, were paying them.

This comes as teachers’ unions and their members are clashing over the payment of incentives.

The unions have urged government to scrap incentives and improve salaries and working conditions.

Now that the government has agreed to pay civil servants salaries pegged at the Poverty Datum Line of $545, calls to rescind incentives have increased.

But Coltart, who introduced the incentives, has now weighed in on the debate.

“My view is that incentives should only be scrapped when government can guarantee teachers a liveable salary befitting their professional status and we are some way off that,” Coltart told the Daily News yesterday.

He urged teachers’ unions to take a single position concerning incentives.

“There needs to be liaison with teachers unions and teachers themselves to ensure that the removal of incentives will not disrupt delivery,” he said.

Coltart said government should pay teachers decent salaries and not peg them on the PDL.

“It is not about a figure but about teachers receiving a salary which is fair and as I said before, befitting their status,” Coltart said.

“So in other words, it is wrong to link it to a particular figure. The process of how much is paid and when it is done is all important.”

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