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Zimbabwe Schools Again Threatened By Teacher Strike Over Wages

Some Zimbabwe teachers have resolved not to return to work when the new school term begins next Tuesday, demanding that the government pay them more than the US$100 per month they are currently receiving not that the Zimbabwe dollar has gone out of use.

The strike resolution emerged at the the Zimbabwe Teachers Association's annual conference in Bulawayo, which was addressed by the Education Minister David Coltart. He said he would relay the teachers' demands to the cabinet. The teachers are asking for at least US$200 a month - though they say they need US$500 in order to make ends meet.

ZIMTA President Tendai Chikowore told reporter Gibbs Dube of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that teachers, like most parents, cannot afford to pay their own children’s school fees.

Zimbabwe's schools were closed for much of 2008 and the early part of 2009 as teachers went out on strike or simply could not get to their jobs on what they were paid.

Meanwhile, headmasters of state primary schools say nearly all parents are applying for the exemption from paying school fees which Coltart recently announced.

President Paul Ngwenya of the National Association of Primary School Headmasters said there are fears the scheme could be abused, plunging schools into a fiscal crisis.

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