Govt must address teachers' concerns

HARARE - Government must urgently engage all the civil servants with the aim of finding lasting solutions to their problems.

Already there is chaos as most teachers — as represented by the unions — have threatened to go on strike demanding an upward review of their salaries.

While we understand that teachers, like any other workers, have the right to engage in industrial action over poor working conditions and low salaries which are well below the poverty datum line, there is need to have consensus on the way forward.

No one can doubt that teachers are very critical for the development of any economy and their efforts must be acknowledged and as such must be duly rewarded.

We have also been urging the government to ensure that teachers are qualified and get in-service training.

This is because good education systems depend on quality teachers, as well as quality teaching and learning tools and environments.

Over the past few years, most teachers have been resorting to other menial jobs to sustain their families, but government has done everything in its power to frustrate them.

This madness in the education sector must stop and teachers must be treated with the respect they deserve.

However, with that in mind, we would like to call upon teachers and all other civil servants to have a heart and negotiate in good faith with the government to find ways of improving their conditions of service.

With schools opening today, if teachers go ahead with their threats of industrial action as planned, students would be stranded and parents would be forced to fork out more money to transport their children from various schools across the country back home.

The situation will not only put a strain on the over-burdened parents, who struggled to raise fees this term due to the worsening economic situation in the country, but will also significantly hamper the development of students.

We all agree that the Zanu PF-led government has failed to turn around the economy and have no clue of doing so in the foreseeable future.

However, there is no need to pile pressure on the already struggling parents.

As such, teachers’ associations must find amicable ways of dealing with their grievances instead of inconveniencing parents.

Government on its part must also be sincere and make concerted efforts to ensure that teachers’ living and working conditions are improved.

While we all acknowledge that government is broke and is struggling to fund its wage bill, it must put in place mechanisms to ensure that teachers are incentivised to remain committed to their work.

Comments (2)

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