Teaching incentives divisive: ZTA

Incentives are causing divisions in the teaching fraternity and could likely lead to the demise of the high quality education standards in the country, an official has said.

David Coltart
David Coltart

Zimbabwe Teachers Association president, who is also chairperson of the civil servants representative body, the Apex council, Tendai Chikowore, said although incentives were key to remunerating teachers, in the long term there was a need to effectively abolish them.

She said it was unfair to the teachers in the rural areas who were not getting these incentives as the parents could not afford them, leaving them to rely on the paltry pay they got from the government.

“There is the issue of the rural teachers who are not getting these incentives because parents in the rural areas cannot afford them, this is highly unfair and is causing divisions among the teachers because the rural teachers are now feeling let down. It is also spilling over to the urban areas were teachers from the western areas are complaining that they are no longer at the same level as teachers in affluent schools,” said Chikowore.

She said the issue had been brought up in a number of their meetings and they had resolved to work closely with the Ministries of Finance and Education, Sports, Arts and Culture to come up with a lasting solution to this whole issue.

“We have held numerous meetings with Minister Tendai Biti, lobbying him to come up with salary levels that will effectively get rid of incentives. We are also lobbying for the introduction of an education levy that will not only see money being channelled to the teachers salaries, but also will see a significant improvement in infrastructure,” she said.

Chikowore said they were lobbying for the reintroduction of the rural allowance that would see more teachers being attracted to teaching in the rural areas.

The issue of incentives has in the past couple of months been a serious bone of contention with the Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, Senator David Coltart calling them a necessary ill.

“It’s about management and commitment to institutions and safeguarding the future of the children. What affects the government, affects the parents. Right now the government can’t afford to pay teachers a reasonable salary that is when the parents have to come in and help,” said Senator Coltart.

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