As the government prepares to pay school fees for the teachers’ children, the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) has said for transparency purposes, the money should be deposited into their accounts instead of directly paying the learning institutions.
This follows the release of ZWL$2.68 billion last week by the government towards the payment of school fees for over 100, 000 teachers’ children.
The government promised to start paying school fees for the teachers’ children when the educators embarked on a crippling strike in February over their poor remuneration and conditions of service.
In response to the industrial action, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube announced a 20 percent increment backdated to January.
He also tabled non-monetary incentives targeting teachers, including the payment of school fees for up to three biological children capped at ZWL$20,000 per child.
Following concerns by legislators over delays by the government in honouring its promise to teachers, Public Service Commission Secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe announced last Friday that ZWL$2.68 billion had been released.
The money, Wutawunashe said would only cover first term’s fees for 103, 556 children of some 52 171 teachers from all the 10 provinces have so far been identified by schools as eligible to benefit.
He said funds for the second term fees would be disbursed later.
“We want the government to put the money in teachers’ accounts so that they can pay fees for their children,” PTUZ president, Dr Takavafira Zhou, told CITE.
“A benefit by an employee must accrue directly in the account of such an employee rather than the claim that the government would pay for teachers’ children in various schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities when it certainly has no capacity to judiciously do that.”
He said it was regrettable that the government cannot pay for the current term, further inconveniencing their children.
“That is a further insult to us as our children cannot be accepted in schools without paying school fees,” decried Zhou.
“Such government unilateralism and flouting of the agreement with teachers must be condemned. We don’t celebrate choreographed late release of money but actual payment. We don’t eat promises in infinity but judicious fulfilment of any agreed promises.”
Asked what teachers preferred between having their children’s fee paid by the government and being paid enough to do that on their own, Zhou had this to say: “Teachers prefer both, but adequate pay is the first priority, while unfettered access of our children to a service we offer is also a high priority.”