As the last dregs of students who finally sat for their ‘A’ level exams-the only ones to remain at schools following a long running teachers’ strike-deserted most institutions of learning, a teachers’ body has warned that schools will not open next year, unless government pays them US$1000.
Speaking during the commemorations of the International Human Rights Day in Masvingo this week at the Civic Centre, the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ), the largest national teachers’ organization, vowed they would not return to work next year.
Schools are scheduled to open on the 16th of January.
PTUZ national executive member Munyaradzi Sibanda also said his organization will continue pressurising president Mugabe’s government to stop trampling upon the rights of teachers who have been pauperised over the years.
“The low salaries of teachers have reduced them to destitutes who sleep outside bank queues. That is a gross violation of their economic rights. They should be guaranteed of a decent life as professionals,” said Sibanda.
He added that due to the cash crisis, many teachers are subjected to inhuman conditions of sleeping outside banks in queues waiting to get cash, as the maximum bank withdrawal limits are too little to pay for their transport.
“Teachers sleep outside banks in the cold, without blankets, as they will be waiting for another day to withdraw more money that would take them back to their stations. Can we tolerate that?” he said
Sibanda said the school calendar for next year would be distorted until the government pays them US$1000.
This last term saw students learning for only one month following an unabated teachers strike that also threatened the Grade Seven, ‘O’ level and ‘A’ level exams.
But analysts said they doubted if the collapse of the education sector would be rectified soon given a myriad of problems that the government is battling with, among them a severe Cholera and Anthrax outbreak that saw more than 1000 people dying.