A Teachers Demonstration in Harare last June
Members of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) are in their third week of strike
The teachers are demanding that their salaries be raised at least to the poverty line of $502 permonth. Presently they earn $150. The teachers are also demanding better conditions of work and that the coalition government prioritise education. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told the teachers to stop their action and that they 'cannot get blood out of a stone.' Teachers on the other hand say that they accept that there is an economic crisis in the country but that the government is still finding money for luxury cars and extensive foreign travel for politicians.
Zimbabwe used to have the best education system in sub-saharan Africa with 90% literacy rates but by last year school attendance had dropped to 20% according to a UN report. Yet still class sizes average 50. Many schools are devoid of the most basic matereials and many thousands of teachers have left the profession - unable to cope with the low salaries and appalling conditions or migrating to nearby South Africa where salaries are better. Meanwhile those teachers who are still struggling to educate the children of Zimbabwe are demanding that they be paid at least a living wage.