Mashonaland West Bureau
THE GOVERNMENT will not backtrack on its decision to dock salaries of teachers absent from work without valid excuses as they are failing to consider the plight and future of schoolchildren.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa reiterated at the weekend that those not reporting for duty would not receive their salaries.
Most children, particularly those in rural areas, lost over a year of learning because of Covid-19 restrictions, although some urban children did benefit from online learning.
Speaking in Chinhoyi during a Zanu PF provincial coordinating committee meeting on Saturday, Minister Mutsvangwa said Government was taking a clear stance from labour principles that seek to pay only those workers providing services.
"Our Government has made it clear that those not going to work will not get paid and that's the labour principle. But at the same time, we have a Tripartite Negotiating Forum for you to air concerns, negotiate and bargain for wages. Why then are teachers not attending to children when the Government had been paying their salaries for over one-and-a-half years under the Covid-19 lockdown period?
"Our teachers should have a heart and be patriotic as teaching is meant to impart knowledge to the young generation. Most of these have lost over a year of learning because of the pandemic," she said.
She said the lockdown had also presented a challenge to most rural children which was a reason why teachers were supposed to be considerate to ameliorate their plight.
"President Mnangagwa is talking of not leaving anyone behind including those from the rural areas," added Minister Mutsvangwa.
President Mnangagwa has since directed the Energy and Power Development Ministry to look for investors so that at least 6 000 schools without electricity countrywide are powered.
Out of 9 600 schools, only 3 000 have power and there is a plan to introduce solar energy which is cheaper than trying to connect remote schools to the national grid.
This will see the introduction of information and communication technology services at rural schools.