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Zimbabwe Teachers Cry Foul Over Performance-Based Salaries

FILE: Some teachers staging a peaceful protest over salaries and conditions of service.

Teacher unions and the general public are up in arms with the government over a proposal by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to slash teachers’ salaries if they don’t achieve a pass rate of more than 50 percent at their schools.

Chinamasa made the proposal when he announced his national budget last year.

According to the proposal, teachers at schools that don’t achieve a 50 percent pass rate will forego their April, August and December salaries.

The move, according to Chinamasa, is expected to cut the civil service wage bill. Indications are that as from next year teachers would have to earn according to the results they produce throughout the year.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education show that most schools in Matabeleland do not record the proposed 50 percent pass rate, some even go as low as zero percent.

Former Education Minister David Coltart told Studio 7 the proposal is not fair, especially in schools where there are no books and other education infrastructure.

“I’m deeply concerned by this news, I think it’s going to undermine education and the teaching profession in Zimbabwe and I think it’s going to discriminate against rural teachers in particular,” he said.

Coltart said although he is a person, who believes in incentives, this move is going to paint all teachers with one brush.

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His sentiments were echoed by Progressive Teachers’ Union Zimbabwe representative for Bulawayo, Vusumuzi Mahlangu, who added that it is a very unfortunate decision.

“We all know as educators that there are many factors that contribute to someone’s performance, for instance there’s the issue of textbooks, the resources, the learning environment,” he said.

He further noted that if there was a precedent to be set then government has to start from the ministries going down.

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