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With audio generated using AI technology

Teachers in Zimbabwe are forced to sell sweets to their students to supplement their income as they struggle to survive in the country.

Zimbabwean teachers demand better pay and free elections

As the country continues to be gripped by a dire financial situation, teachers are having to survive on just 235 US dollars a month, according to the main teaching union, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

At the NASUWT Annual Conference, PTUZ Vice-President Nokuthula Mpofu spoke abut the difficulties facing teachers and the union’s demands for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

She said: “There is no free education in Zimbabwe. We pay fees for the primary, secondary, tertiary and university sectors.

“Many of us have children and it’s not easy. Members are failing to have three meals a day because of the amounts of their salary they are receiving.”

Ms Mpofu said a teacher salary was just 35 US dollars a month and this was topped up by a 200 US dollars Covid allowance which could be withdrawn at any time. She contrasted this with the salaries for soldiers which she said were as much as ten times those for teachers.

She added: “Teachers are now using the schools as their market places. They go to schools to sell sweets, to sell snacks to the learners in order to get money for transport, in order to get money to sustain their living.

“Essential female members, instead of them going to school to sell sweets, we could empower them to do other things like making sandwiches or making scones, you know, to sell things that give them dignity.

“We used to be given the same amount as civil servants, but now what the new government is doing is discriminatory. And when it comes to salary payments, they don’t negotiate. We are just given increments because I think it’s an issue of trying to protect themselves.”

The Vice-President called for free and fair elections in the country which would hopefully lead to some improvements in education and more widely in society.

She said: “We believe it’s high time that we have free, fair and credible elections and we believe we deserve better than this. We believe our government is being unfair in treating us differently.

“We believe if these elections become fair and the transparent, then things will change and the country will be in a better position.

“We believe if we see we are able to make our decisions as Zimbabweans and if the decisions of all Zimbabweans come out clearly, without either internal forces coming in or influencing the results, we’ll be in a better place.

“Of course, it won’t be overnight to make Zimbabwe a better country, but we believe it’s the voice of the people that will help this nation to change.

“So our hope now is on these coming elections to say we can do it on our own. As Zimbabweans, we need the international community to come in and assist so that things change for the better, for the people of Zimbabwe.”


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