Parents, teachers fret over economic crisis

HARARE - Parents have expressed concern over  the current economic crisis characterised by liquidity challenges and price hikes, as schools open for a new term today.

At the same time, teachers have also warned of a bleak term that lies ahead for both scholars and themselves if government ignores their plight and welfare.

Most of boarding schools in Zimbabwe charge around $400 to $500 while students at day schools are required to folk out $100 to $200 per term.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe said President Emmerson Mnangagwa must address the issue of teachers’ salaries without delay.

“As schools open, on the issue of salaries, teachers have suffered enough. Mnangagwa must know that for the past 38 years teachers have been suffering. Teachers can’t afford to build houses, buy cars, houses and even sent their children to schools and we say to Mnangagwa this must not continue,” Majongwe said.

“We want to tell Mnangagwa the future of the country’s education sector is in their hands. He must appoint proper people to be Cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries. He must not appoint people who want to do experiments. He must move away from the Robert Mugabe way of running things and stop presiding over hungry workers.”

Parents who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said they are struggling to raise fees for their children.

“Things are tight we are trying to run around but we are struggling to pay fees due to the current economic hardships. Some schools are demanding students to bring proof of payment from the bank before being admitted into hostels,” Chipo Ziki, who was buying essentials for her children in Harare Central Business district, said.

Other parents said they are going to negotiate with schools so that they can pay half amount to enable their children to attend lessons.

“Due to cash shortages and the current economic situation, I am left with no option but to negotiate so that I can pay half of the amount and we agree on a payment plan. I am struggling to buy books for my children and we hope they are not going to be chased away,” Kurai Makudo said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure said the economic challenges are affecting teachers.

“The economic challenges confronting our country will further erode teacher salaries by up to 100 percent. Teachers will further sink on the poverty index. Morale will reach a new low and learning will virtually stop in most schools. Parents will fail to raise money for school fees and learning materials for their kids and thus turnout will be low in most schools.”

“Third term is likely going to be very busy as teachers prepare learners for the November exams, the first to be written under the new curriculum. The second term was cut short so the third term will also seek to compensate for lost learning time.

“The ruling party and State will likely go after teachers in retribution of their role in the 2018 election. Teachers are likely to face one form of victimisation or the other.”

Masaraure added that their union will immediately fight for the safety of teachers amid rising cases of intimidation in rural areas.

“Teacher security and safety is our priority, we will continue with our safe schools campaign through multiple advocacy strategies. We will be engaging our partners to set a rapid response team to attend to the security and safety needs of all teachers.

“The union will work with organisations working on child protection to ensure that no learner loses learning time because of failing to pay fees. We will further force education authorities to guarantee the right to education as espoused in section 75 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

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