Teachers go-slow, AWOL

school_girlsParents battle to raise funds for extra lessons
MUTARE A number of teachers from Manicaland have trekked to some private schools in neighbouring Mozambique, where they are being paid handsomely, an education officer has said.

Other teachers are now offering private lessons to pupils as a way to supplement their salaries, which they say, are an insult to their profession.

School children both from primary and secondary schools in Mutare are not having normal lessons as some teachers are on a go-slow.

The officer said: I can confirm that some teachers have gone AWOL while others have skipped the border to neighbouring Mozambique where there are greener pastures.

Technical subjects and English teachers are reportedly in high demand.

The teachers are being paid a minimum of US$700 going upwards depending on experience and subjects taught.

Its sad that the parents are struggling to raise school fees, but in some schools, the teachers are reporting for duty, but they are not conducting lessons. Children are being told to read on their own while others are told to play in the sporting fields, said the official.

Information gathered by The Zimbabwean this week shows that the teachers are sitting-in. Most of them are now conducting private lessons at their homes.

We received reports that some teachers are now offering private lessons at their homes. The situation is worse in rural schools, where parents do not have the foreign currency to pay teachers. We are facing those challenges as an office, he said.

A parent, Peter Mubaiwa, said: We do not have any option but to send our children for the private lessons. But most of us are finding it very difficult to pay the US$5 per week charge. The government should help us as a matter of urgency.

Some teachers interviewed by this paper said they would not teach unless their plight was addressed.

I have been a teacher for the past 15 years and its a mockery to our profession that I can be paid US$155. I will not commit myself. I will not teach the students I will just sit, said a visibly angry teacher from Chikanga Primary school in Mutare.

Another teacher interviewed who declined to be named said: This is absolute nonsense. We need money. We cannot survive on such paltry salaries. The government is failing to realise our importance. We are an important sector, but the government is ignoring us. We will not teach the children.

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has demanded a minimum pay of US$600 per month for teachers, but the government has said it has no capacity to pay such salaries.

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