Feb. 14, 2022 (GIN) – Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa suspended thousands of striking teachers for three months without pay after they rejected a 20 percent salary increase as insufficient.
Teachers in Zimbabwe earn about $90 a month.
Schools had opened this past week after a month-long delay due to a surge of Covid-19 cases, but many teachers did not report for work as they protested the poor salaries.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evlyn Ndlovu said teachers not reporting for work were being suspended for three months to allow for “investigations”.
Unions said the suspensions would affect as many as 135, 000 teachers and warned that schools would have to close if the threats are carried out.
The government action angered parents.
“The government should respect teachers,” one parent was quoted to say, “so that our children can learn at school. We are just coming out of lockdowns and now the schools are open but no learning is taking place. What kind of future are we building for our children?”
Another parent, added: “At the end of the day, teachers expect to be paid. Unfortunately that pay is not forthcoming. Their salary is already eroded on a daily basis. They are parents too, they also have kids to take care of”.
“Teachers have been reduced to paupers, they are living in poverty,” Obert Masaraure, president of Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe was reported to say. “We know there is an ongoing academic genocide, we are losing a whole generation, a generation that is now engaged in child marriages because they can’t be in school, a generation that is taking to drugs because they can’t be in school.
“Our call to government is to immediately resolve the value of teachers’ salaries”, Masaraure said.
Ndlovu announced the action saying: “The ministry would like to inform the nation and its valued stakeholders that all officials from the ministry, who absented themselves from duty since the opening of schools on Monday, February 7, have been suspended without pay forthwith for a three-month period,” Ms Ndlovu said.
“During this period, members are not to hinder or interfere with any investigations or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct.