Kudzaishe Muhamba and Marytise Vambayi
Most public school teachers reported for duty by Tuesday, the February 22 deadline set by the Public Service Commission for full resumption of duties.
Teachers who did not report for duty and those attending but not doing their work, would be deemed to have resigned said the Public Service Commission.
Some teachers had taken illegal industrial action and either had not returned to work or were physically present but declining to teach, although major unions had accepted the new salary and benefits package implemented by the Government to break deadlocks in talks.
The new package by the Government includes a 20 percent increment across the board backdated to January 1, with the equivalent of US$100 of this in foreign currency from March, school fees support for three children and 34 000 flats to be built in school grounds over five years.
A visit to some schools in Harare yesterday showed that almost all teachers were back at work although indications were that some were not conducting lessons despite being in class.
National Association of Primary School Heads (NAPH) president, Mrs Cynthia Khumalo, said all teachers were now in attendance but conceded that some were not doing their work.
“The majority of teachers are in schools now. I haven’t heard of any schools that are complaining so that means all teachers are in. But things have not yet returned to normal because the teachers seem to be dragging themselves to school but not doing the work,” she said.
Rural Teacher’s Union in Zimbabwe vice president Mr Gibson Mashangu said more teachers had reported for duty by Tuesday but the organisation was yet to conduct an assessment of whether they were carrying out their duties.
“Yes more teachers have gone back to work but we are yet to ascertain their work progress. We will conduct a survey to see if teachers are doing their work properly after their return,” he said.
Zimbabwe National School Heads Union secretary general Mr Munyaradzi Majoni said the attendance of teachers had improved as they had heeded the Government’s call.
“The attendance of teachers before Government’s intervention was very much depressed. The majority of them were not coming to work. But yesterday (Tuesday) they showed up, reported for work and attended classes. We are hoping that as the week progresses, everything will be in place and the working environment will have improved.”
Director of communication and advocacy in the Ministry Primary and Secondary Education Mr Taungana Ndoro yesterday confirmed that teachers had reported for duty in masses.
“Teachers have reported for duty in masses and teaching and learning is going on smoothly,” he said.