Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai took first steps this week toward getting the country's teachers, on strike for months, back to work, education sources said.
Mr. Tsvangirai met on Monday with organizations representing teachers and followed that up with a meeting with Education Minister David Coltart, a member of the rival formation of the Movement for Democratic Change which Mr. Tsvangirai founded in 1999.
Meeting leaders of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, Mr. Tsvangirai was reported to have reiterated his inaugural commitment to paying teachers, like other civil servants, in hard currency so they can get back to work. Mr. Tsvangirai has since disclosed that he has not yet lined up a source for the estimated US$40 to US$50 million a month that would be needed to make good his promise.
The meeting with teachers also focused on political violence, frequently directed at teachers in the 2008 post-election period, and the 2009 academic calendar, education sources said.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association President Tendai Chikowore said the representatives would meet Wednesday with Coltart after he has been briefed by Mr. Tsvangirai.
PTUZ General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that as matters stand, most state schools remain closed.