Zimsec, markers in fresh row

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HARARE – The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) and script markers are heading for a fresh collision as the latter complain that the value of their payouts has been eroded by inflation. Zimsec recently paid examiners their dues for marking the 2021 Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations. Zimbabwe’s inflation is currently deemed the world’s highest and when the examiners signed contracts to mark O and A Level examinations early this year, the$33 000 agreements were worth US$140, but when government finally paid, it was sitting at around US$55.

There are reports that Zimsec is battling a financial crisis that resulted in its failure to pay examiners on time. An examiner who requested anonymity accused government of deliberately delaying to pay them.

“Government no longer cares and doesn’t respect us anymore. This is not what we signed up for. When we signed this contract, we were supposed to get US$140, but now, we can’t even afford (anything). They just want to see us suffering. It’s now more than seven months since we signed these contracts,” the examiner said. Teachers’ unions yesterday told NewsDay that the markers’ salaries were grossly inadequate.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said their salary was now a mockery.

“These salaries are a mockery of the hard work that has been put in by our teachers who were marking O and A Level examinations. When they signed this contract, they were expecting to be paid around US$140, but now, they get something which is equivalent to US$55.

“This is deliberate from Zimsec and the government. This is regrettable and in future, teachers may choose not to participate in this process. We urge teachers that in future, they should sign time-bound contracts. They are able to sue them,” Masaraure said.

In a tweet, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said the figures being paid to examiners induced a sense of shock.

“Zimsec finally paid O and A Level markers their dues, about $33 000. When they signed their contracts in February, that was worth US$135. Today, it’s US$55. Both figures induce a sense of shock. Has the profession fallen from grace this much?” PTUZ quried.

Educators Union of Zimbabwe vice-president Tapedza Zhou said government had failed to take teachers seriously.

“It is disgusting. We are not happy about the salary. It shows how Zimsec and the government are not serious about teachers’ welfare. We are saying that after work, we deserve to be paid, and they deliberately postponed paying these teachers because they know that after a certain period of time, that money will lose value,” Zhou said.

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