Zimbabwe announced Sunday that it will fill staffing gaps at public schools by recruiting new teachers while intensifying daily assessments of teacher attendance amid faculty strikes.
The majority of teachers on strike have not been reporting for duty since schools opened for public examination classes on Sept. 28, demanding a review of their salaries.
Public Service Commission Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe urged the striking teachers to go back to work as wage negotiations are underway under the National Joint Negotiating Council.
“The negotiations will not be for teachers only but the whole civil service sector. Other civil servants are going to work, so it is important for teachers’ unions to tell their members to be at work until finalization of the negotiations,” Wutawunashe said.
Communication and advocacy director at the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Taungana Ndoro said the government will assess staffing gaps and determine areas where additional educators are needed to cover the vacancies left by those not reporting for duty.
“We seek to establish gaps in terms of human resources so that regulations such as social distancing can be properly implemented. However, in terms of preparations, schools are ready to open on Monday,” Ndoro told media.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema said that schools will be equipped with the requisite personal protective equipment and that the safety of learners, teachers and support staff is guaranteed.
The teachers, who earn their salaries in local Zimbabwe dollars, want the government to pay them in U.S. dollars at a level of 520 U.S. dollars per month for the least paid worker.
The Zimbabwean government is currently paying its workers in local currency after the country in June last year discarded the use of U.S. dollar that had been in place since 2009, and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar.