Sunday, 2 May 2021

PARENTS FORK OUT TO PAY STRIKING TEACHERS

AS THE national strike by teachers continues, some schools have agreed to have parents pay educators incentives as part of efforts to ensure they return to work.

However, authorities have warned against such practices, which they say are illegal.

This comes as teachers have been on strike, demanding improved salaries and better working conditions — amid growing fears of a further decline in education standards in the country.

It also comes as some schools have agreed with parents to have them chip in with United States dollar payments, to help end the teachers’ strike and ensure their return to work.

In Matabeleland South, the School Development Committee (SDC) at Minda High School in Maphisa, recently agreed to having parents pay US$20 per term to motivate teachers to attend classes on a daily basis, instead of two days per week.

“Following an agreement by parents to donate a termly US$20 towards teachers’ welfare, an account was opened.

“The teachers are actually   expecting the donation in the month of April, so that children can be attended to daily as opposed to the current situation where their unions have instructed them to teach for only two days a week.

“For those with cash, you can either pay at the school or indicate your willingness so that arrangements can be made to collect the money at some convenient venue,” the SDC said in a circular to parents.

In Mutoko, Mashonaland East, All Souls Mission has also entered into a similar arrangement with parents.

“The SDC is pleased to inform you that All Souls …  teachers are teaching irrespective of the fact that teachers’ trade unions have asked their respective members to work no more than three days a week.

“Teachers have made it clear that teaching is subject to urgent initiative from parents. Parents need to appreciate it.

“If parents fail to appreciate the donations, teachers will not attend lessons and they will come two days a week as suggested by the teachers’ unions,” the school’s SDC said.

“Furthermore, teachers will absent themselves from evening studies and learners will have no one to take good care of them.

“So parents, let us all work together, all hands on deck and assist teachers to continue attending lessons,” the SDC said further — while asking parents to pay $1 950 by the end of last month.

In Harare, Selbourne Primary has also written to parents asking them to pay money towards cushioning teachers at the institution.

“Our teachers are saying incapacitation has hit them hard and are likely to follow their unions’ recommendation of coming to school twice a week, which means our children will only be attended once a week.

 

“However, they wanted to find out if we are prepared to help them cushion their transport so that they are able to report to work.

“They indicated that … if there is no positive feedback they will heed their trade unions’ call to come to school twice a week,” the school’s SDC said in its communication to parents.

Chindunduma 1 High in Mashonaland Central has also similarly asked parents to pay allowances to teachers for both exam and non-exam classes.

“Fellow parents, after a meeting with Zimbabwe Foundation for Education with Production (Zimfep) officials, made it clear that parents should cushion teachers. “It (Zimfep) directed that we collect US$25 from exam classes and U$15 from non-exam classes.

“For those non-exam classes who have paid US$25, the balance will be used for next term,” the school’s SDC said.

However, the director of communications for the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, said it was not the government’s policy to have parents incentivising teachers.

“It is illegal for parents to pay teachers allowances and all those doing this are doing it at their own peril. The long arm of the law is going to catch up with those teachers in schools demanding incentives from parents.

“Already, the government has a shortage of teachers and so the SDCs should employ its own teachers and pay them as it wishes not to pay government teachers.

“All those SDC members forcing parents to pay incentives are being warned to stop such practices or risk facing the wrath of the law,” Ndoro told the Daily News On Sunday. Daily News

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