Teachers Demand USD Salaries Amid Economic Turmoil

Unions, Education Minister Discuss Grievances, Seek Solutions

by Adenike Adeodun

In a pivotal meeting held on Monday with Primary and Secondary Education Minister Torerai Moyo, teachers’ unions represented by the Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Union of Zimbabwe (FOZEU) laid bare their grievances, chief among them the demand for salaries to be paid in United States dollars, amounting to $1,200 monthly. This request stems from the harsh economic conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe, characterized by a rapidly depreciating local currency and soaring prices for basic goods and services, making it increasingly difficult for educators to sustain their livelihoods.

The plight of teachers in Zimbabwe reflects a broader economic malaise, with workers across the private sector also clamoring for remuneration in foreign currency to shield themselves from the financial instability that has engulfed the nation. FOZEU President Akuneni Maphosa, speaking at the meeting, painted a grim picture of educators’ current state, emphasizing their descent into poverty amid an economic environment that has distorted salary structures, positioning senior grades at a disadvantage relative to their juniors in terms of remuneration.

Maphosa highlighted the profound impact of currency instability and inadequate salaries on teachers’ morale and professional satisfaction, noting that the compensation received was insufficient to meet basic needs. The FOZEU President called for the Ministry’s intervention to ensure that educators are treated with the seriousness they deserve and their welfare is adequately protected.

The sentiment of demoralization among educators was further echoed by Maphosa, who pointed to the inspectorate rate as a case in point that has significantly affected teachers’ morale and professional purpose. Additionally, the ongoing job evaluation exercise in the civil service, while initially welcomed, has been critiqued for lacking extensive consultation, raising concerns about its credibility.

FOZEU Secretary-General Obert Masaraure amplified the call for the government to uphold its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education, as mandated under Section 75. Masaraure referenced the Education Act, which enshrines every child’s right to compulsory, state-funded education, underscoring the legal imperative for the government to ensure no child is deprived of education, with penalties in place for non-compliance by parents.

Masaraure also addressed the shortcomings of the Basic Education Assistance Model (Beam) program, which has been marred by challenges, notably the delayed disbursement of funds to schools, exacerbating the financial strain on educational institutions and negatively impacting orphans and other beneficiaries.

Minister Moyo acknowledged the myriad challenges confronting the education sector, expressing solidarity with the educators as a fellow teacher and recognizing the delays in Beam payments that have historically plagued the system. In a constructive dialogue with the Finance Minister, Moyo conveyed a commitment to ensuring timely disbursements of Beam funds, marking a significant step toward addressing one of the critical issues raised by the educators.

This meeting between teachers’ unions and the Education Minister signifies a crucial moment of reckoning for Zimbabwe’s education sector, highlighting the urgent need for systemic reforms to address educators’ grievances and ensure the sustainability of quality education in the face of economic adversity. The discussions underscore the imperative for collaborative efforts between government officials and educators to forge a path forward that prioritizes the welfare of teachers and, by extension, the future of education in Zimbabwe.


Source: Newsday

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