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Under Public Pressure, Zimbabwe Teachers Union Suspends Strike

Top officials of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe met with members in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday afternoon, and resolved that teachers belonging to the union should end a strike and return to work pending a review of strategy.

The union, which launched a strike four weeks ago, said it wants to put children first and earn the trust of parents while seeking increased compensation.

The PTUZ said last week that it would remains on strike after the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, a rival organization closer to the government, accepted an offer from Harare for a 422% pay increase and told its members to return to work.

Grade seven pupils started writing examinations Monday amid widespread teacher absenteeism and much confusion, with some pupils failing to report as well.

Soldiers and school heads were said to be serving as exam monitors, or invigilators as they are known in Zimbabwe. Form four exams were set to begin next week, raising the stakes for students and striking teachers risking a loss of public support.

PTUZ General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that teachers would be heading back to their classrooms pending a thorough review of strategy by the union's leadership.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...