ZIMBABWE – In yet another testament to the deepening crisis in the country’s education sector, a leaked conversation reportedly from a Whatsapp group for school Heads has revealed the growing frustration over many challenges they are facing in trying to ensure the smooth running of the schools.
In the leaked messages, one of the causes for this frustration is the unfair treatment teachers are being subjected to particularly compared to members of the security services with one message referring to the situation as “Animal Farm” in reference to the classical satire by George Orwell.
In one of the messages, one school head recalls the salary structure and grading system that was used in the 90s which supposedly placed a School Head on equal terms to a Major in the army.
The message also questioned why legislators are getting hefty packages yet District Schools Inspectors (DSIs) who were doing much more were not getting the same.
“I write my opinion with the hope that union reps will take our proposal up. I propose that our salaries be indexed to what is prevailing in other government departments with all grades well spelt. I assume in the 90s a teacher entering service was equivalent to a leautenant in the army, a substantive deputy to a Captain and a Head to a major.
“This must include salary and benefits. Back then MPs did not earn much today on being voted MP one gets a car ,a hefty sitting allowance and a salary. They should not be earning more than our DSIs cause a single DSI covers an area covered by more than 5 MPs and 2 Senators were is the logic. Let’s demand that what we get is indexed to what politicians get, ” said one Head.
Adding that,”Kana tichishaya toshaya tese(either we are all equally deprived). Kana tichiwana towana tese( or we are all provided for in the same way). We must fight for proper grading and appropriate rewarding to each grade. Let us start the debate. Forward to other teacher groups.”
The heads also expressed concern over the negative balances most schools find themselves in yet they have many expenses to cover which include examination material.
“Now am being expected to send statistics every day and collect material from District using whose money guys.Let us all be sober and awake from our slumber. Schools have a negative in school Accounts and the system expect me to subsidise the school in order for it to continue running smoothly.
“They want feedback from with regard to statistics but they don’t give us feedback with regard to Netone lines that contain school levies and how do they expect us to make things move?Exam materials need to be bought. Science Advance materials which need to be procured using US $ is another mammoth task.Guys we on the horns of dilemma so to speak.”
In addition, the school Heads are worried at the growing rate of mischief happening at schools in the absence of teachers who have declared incapacitation for almost a month now since the reopening of schools following more than 5 months of schools being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Just last Thurdays in classrooms I caught form 6 boys with form four girls romancing and smoking and when I arrived they ran way and and never returned. The situation is now beyond our control DSI.”
The ongoing negotiations between government and teachers have so far failed to come up with an amicable position to allow teachers to return to schools in preparation of the upcoming national examinations as well as the smooth facilitation of other stages of the phased re-opening of schools.