The Zimbabwean government has put around 10,000 qualified but unemployed teachers on standby to replace striking teachers who have withdrawn their labour since schools re-opened for examination classes on Monday.
The Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Ambassador Cain Mathema said measures have been put in place to employ the bulk of qualified, but jobless, teachers.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe for their part say more than 60 per cent of teachers at government schools did not report for duty when the schools re-opened, citing incapacitation caused by inadequate remuneration.
Teachers are demanding at least 540 dollars per month or its equivalent in local currency for them to return to their duty posts.
Mathema said the government would not allow a situation where pupils who have lost precious time during the COVID-19 lockdown continue to be disenfranchised.
“Negotiations between government and its workers are ongoing and we hope that they will soon find common ground to improve the lives of civil servants.
“Some teachers might want to hold the government to ransom by not reporting for duty waiting for the completion of these negotiations.
“What we are saying is that learners have not been going to school since March and the government will not permit for them to be continuously disadvantaged.
“We have at least 10,000 teachers who are unemployed and if the crunch comes, we will be left with no option but to quickly employ some of those teachers,” Mathema said.
“Schooling has to go on and we will employ if there is need to,” the minister concluded.
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