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Zimbabwe Teachers Association Blames Cash Crisis For High Absenteeism

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association, one of the main unions representing teachers in the Southern African country, said Wednesday that widespread cash shortages have kept many teachers from reporting for the new school term that began this week.

A ZIMTA official said many members who teach outside the large towns have not been able to withdraw enough money from their bank accounts to travel to work.

Schools opened Tuesday but many teachers were absent, and many of those who did show up joined a slowdown called by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, which has rejected the government’s offer of a 1,000 % increase in teacher pay.

The union is demanding minimum teacher compensation including various allowances of $526 million a month. The government offered $260 million.

ZIMTA Secretary General Richard Gundani told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that some teachers may have departed for jobs in South Africa and other neighboring countries - or simply emigrated in search of whatever employment they can find.

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