Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Teachers’ unions blast school heads allowance… ‘ploy to divide teachers’

By Chamunorwa Matanhike

Teachers’ unions have blasted the move by the government to introduce an allowance for school heads depending on the size of their schools by calling it a ploy to divide teachers.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou

Speaking in Victoria Falls recently, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela said schools are set to be grouped into Grades 1-3 with school heads in Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 getting allowances of 25, 20, and 15 percent of their basic salaries respectively.

Educators Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ) secretary -general Tapedza Zhou said the allowance is a separatist and divisive attempt to bribe school heads to stop an impending job action of the teachers.

“The recent and divisive attempts to reward school heads with a meagre twenty five percent over and above other teachers is just as cheap as it sounds. The government still assumes that school heads are so usable that they may fall for this bait.”

“The government is smelling a massive job action ahead, hence hatched a plan to bribe school heads either as a strategy to be tough on other teachers, or predicts that that each school head will invigilate the whole examination on his or her own,” said Zhou.

Zhou said that the foolish move will not remove schools heads out of poverty as it shows that the government still looks down upon the school heads.

“This foolish idea will do nothing to remove long suffering school heads out of poverty. At best, it is clear testimony of how the government still look down upon school heads,” he said.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Dr Takavafira Zhou said the salary boost is a fantasy and called for the restoration of teachers salaries to the pre-October 2018 level.

“Insinuations that school heads will get a salary boost is at best a fantasy and at worst a fabrication trying to ululate at an insult. Any school head worthy his or her salt must realise that even a 100% offer on current salary will still fall far short of the US$540 average earned by teachers before October 2018.”

“What more of allowances ranging from between 10% and 25% of basic salary? A worthy battle for all teachers is therefore the restoration of the purchasing power parity of the salaries of teachers as of pre-October 2018,” he said.

Zhou urged teachers to be vigilant and not to invigilate this year’s ZIMSEC examinations.

“We must also remain vigilant and resilient and ready to reach a higher level punctuated by total withdrawal of labour and non-invigilation of examinations. None but ourselves can restore the status of teachers from grass to grace,” said Zhou.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Mutoko representative Wellington Gweshe condemned the allowance as it was set to divide school heads and teachers.

“Government is playing tricks with people. These are divisive actions that will bring division amongst teachers and school heads. Rural heads will not benefit anything from the scheme as they don’t have enrollments that will bring a better allowance,” said Gweshe.

Gweshe urged the government to honour the grading systems as per the Public Service Commission standards.

Zimbabwe National Union of School Heads (ZINUSH) secretary-general thanked the government for awarding school heads this allowance although the allowance was not enough.

“As ZINUSH we receive with joy the decision to pay school heads an allowance that shows the important work done by school heads.15% to 25% is, however, not enough,” said Majoni

Majoni said that his union was not happy with the different amount of the allowance to be paid to heads of smaller and bigger schools.

“We are not happy with the taking of those in small schools as if they have less work. We know the important work done by them.”

“We are going to write another letter asking for all school heads to be given 25% percent as we wait for   the resolving of all our other grievances,” he said.