'Govt won't slash teachers' salaries'

HARARE - The ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has dispelled reports that it will be slashing salaries of teachers who fail to produce good results.

A fortnight ago, State media reported that government will resort to cutting salaries in order to improve the country’s quality of education.

The media reports also added that the measures would be put into effect immediately with teachers who record less than 50 percent pass rates at all examination classes to forfeit their April, August and December salaries.

In a statement, the ministry said despite the fact that payment of salaries is the mandate of another ministry, the education portfolio was still interested in the welfare of its employees.

“The said article makes reference to the teacher-pupil ratio which is not congruent with the ministry’s position. The teacher-pupil ratio for junior school has never been 1:35. It has always been 1:40 and it remains the same.

“It was also alleged that some teachers were transferred by the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education from some urban schools to schools in rural areas. This is patently false and a deliberate distortion of facts,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Those with nothing useful to say on the primary and secondary education sector could help everyone by talking about what they are familiar with”.

Teachers’ unions have been threatening boycotting a government directive for all employees on vacation to return to work for a head count by the Civil Service Commission.

Recently, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) filed court papers against the directive at the High Court.

PTUZ has even requested to meet President Robert Mugabe in light of the developments in the teaching profession.

“In a meeting conducted on January 29, we recommended the following issues as a matter of concern, that is, meet President Mugabe as PTUZ as we have lost faith in the other associations and unions, for we strongly feel that he is being ill-advised by the concerned ministers,” PTUZ said

Zimbabwe Teachers Association also advised its members not to return to work unless individual letters were sent to them.

George Mushipe, president of the Zimbabwe Democratic Teachers’ Union said if government did not heed the plight of teachers, they would resort to demonstrations.

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