Zimbabwean teachers unions and the government have agreed to seek introduction of an education allowance to replace informal incentives parents now pay teachers.
The resolution to phase out incentives to be replaced with an official mechanism was the outcome of a meeting on Tuesday between Education Minister David Coltart, provincial education directors, school development associations and teachers unions.
The Progressive Teachers Union, which has described the incentives as divisive, wants them scrapped. But the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe wants them to be continued.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Ndlovu said that despite such differences the meeting was productive.
Ndlovu said teachers and the ministry resolved to re-introduce a rural allowance and an education levy that will fund the substitute for incentives.
Sources said union leaders blamed Coltart for maintaining the incentive policy that had produced inequality and dissatisfaction among teachers in rural areas who say they do not receive such payments, while many parents say they cannot afford the payments.
Teachers in urban schools receive between $150 and $400 in incentives depending on their schools, plus a monthly salary of more than $300 from the government.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry says private colleges must comply with government regulations or risk being shut down. The ministry says private colleges need to work with others in the educational field to make sure they are operating at a high level.
News reports say the government this year closed 124 private colleges and independent training institutions and de-registered 31 others after finding them sub-standard.
Technical and vocational colleges have become more popular with young Zimbabweans, but the ministry voices concern about the promotion of non-formal education.
It says some colleges have exploited families and students without delivering value.
Director Maxwell Rafomoyo of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe said the sprouting of such institutions reflects the decline of the country’s formal education sector. He said the institutions must work with the ministry as they are a necessary alternative for youth.