Teachers from various schools in Gokwe remain incapacitated despite President Mnangagwa’s declaration that the Government will not be arm-twisted by striking teachers into succumbing to their demands, and that only those reporting for duty will be paid.

These teachers vowed that they will not assist the government through loans to get a transport fee, surplus for food and fees for their children. They vowed that it is the duty and responsibility of the employer to enable them to get to their work stations, make sure they have adequate food supplies and that their children go to school as well.

Teacher representatives are calling for a minimum salary of US$520 or the equivalent at the auction rate. This is what teachers were getting when the USD was one as to one with the ZimDollar.

President Mnangagwa made it clear during a briefing in Mutare on Wednesday that his government must not be taken for a ransom by the teachers. He further strengthened the view that the government is not turning back and lessons are in progress. So those teachers who are not reporting for duty will not receive their salaries.

 “I have heard that after schools reopened in Manicaland, only 30 percent of teachers have reported for duty. Let me assure all of you that Government will never be held to ransom by the teachers.

“By failing to report for duty, they think they will push us to do what they want. No, we are very principled on that. However, we are happy that some have gone back to work.

“We will apply the principle that those who work will get paid. Those who are at home are not considered to be at work,” said President Mnangagwa.

On the other hand, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Ambassador Cain Matema said that his ministry is employing some 10 000 more teachers to replace those who are not reporting for duty.

 A survey by My Gokwe Media on some schools at Simchembo, Zhomba, Madzivazvido, Mutimutema and Nemangwe revealed that there only heads if any or the school was utterly shut.

At Musikavanhu in Copper the villagers who talked to My Gokwe said the only staff member who is present was even there during the lockdown, so it means there is no one in the school.

Most teachers revealed that they are engaged in different projects to supplement the small salary they are getting. These activities include private lessons, garden agriculture and poultry, welding, flea markets, selling home brewed beer, buying and selling of farm produce, building and running some small retail outlets.

They lamented that opening of schools will most likely doom their livelihood and teaching itself is no longer sustaining their families. As such they expressed their willingness to have the government cancelling the whole of 2020 and allow them the time to fend for their families as salary negotiations continue.

Since, the farming season have begun some teachers have integrated themselves into the Government initiated Pfumvudza and are digging their holes.

This add to a number of teachers who have entered into land alliances with farmers and allocated pieces of land for agriculture. Such teachers are busy on land preperation and acquisition of adequate inputs and material to engage in full time agriculture. Hence, opening of schools is an unwelcome move.

However, these teachers reiterated that they are still committed to give their best into their practice as long the government pay them enough to take care of their families.

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