Education International
Education International

Zimbabwean teachers received Z$29 trillion pay this month

published 23 January 2009 updated 23 January 2009

Both EI member organisations in Zimbabwe denounce the latest salary paid to teachers by the government. On 21 January, the teacher unions told reporters that their members were paid an average of Z$29 trillion as salary for January 2009. This amount is less than US$10.

As quoted on ZimOnline.co.za, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe dismissed the new salary as an “insult and a mockery” promising to call on all its members to boycott classes when schools open next Tuesday.

"The salary of $29 trillion for January is in essence an insult and mockery. What in reality can the salary do in light of sky-rocketing prices of basic needs, accommodation, transport, education and health costs?” said Majongwe.

He added: "The strike (next week) is about the misery of teachers. Without money there is no going back to work."

Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) spokesperson Sifiso Ndlovu said teachers would not accept salaries in local currency which, he said, had been virtually "demonitised" through the partial dollarisation of the economy by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

"We are asking for salaries in foreign currency because we are operating in an economically-abnormal situation where you can no longer use the local currency to buy goods or access essential services," Ndlovu said. "The January salary for teachers is not peanuts, but nutshells. The salary is not even fit to be called allowances."

Very little learning took place at public schools in 2008 as teachers spent the better part of the year striking for more pay or sitting at home, because they could not even afford the bus fare to work on their meagre salaries.

"How can you expect an education system to function properly when you pay teachers only enough to buy 10 loaves of bread," asks EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. "This is adding insult to injury: insult because the government thinks that teachers are worth only that much; and injury because teachers can hardly survive on that kind of wage."

EI supports its member organisations' stand and will write to Mugabe protesting his government’s failure to pay teachers a decent and fair wage, compounded by its failure to pay in a currency that has any value in the real economy.

Note: This news item is based on the article "US$10 for Zimbabwe’s teachers" on ZimOnline.co.za by Cuthbert Nzou. To access the original article, please click on the link below.