Zimbabwe suspends striking teachers for three months
Zimbabwe has suspended teachers who went on strike earlier this week for three months, the country’s Education minister announced.
Face-to-face classes resumed across Zimbabwe on Monday following a prolonged closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic but teachers at many schools stayed home. Teachers remain upset of low salaries and other issues.
A security guard checks the temperature of children entering the schools premises at a government school in Harare, Zimbabwe. /AP
Evelyn Ndlovu said the government would take appropriate action against the teachers even as she assured the public of the state’s commitment to provide quality education.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to inform the nation and its valued stakeholders that all officials within the ministry who absented themselves from duty since the official opening of schools on 7 February 2022 have been suspended without pay forthwith, for a period of three months,” a statement from Ndlovu read.
“During this period of suspension, members are not to hinder or interfere with any investigation or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct.”
Teachers are unhappy with their salaries of about 100 U.S. dollars a month and are demanding that their pay be increased to about 500 U.S. dollars per month.
In 2018, teachers earned the equivalent of about 540 U.S. dollars a month but that amount has been eroded by years of inflation, currently estimated at 60 percent and the devaluation of Zimbabwe’s currency.
According to a report by the state-owned Herald newspaper, a number of teachers’ unions have already said they are willing to negotiate with the government to amicably resolve the crisis.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s public service commission, the Herald also reported, has dismissed speculation of a potential crisis due to the suspensions noting that there were an estimated 13,000 unemployed teachers waiting to be absorbed into the system.