Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) secretary general, Mr Tapson Nganunu, says teachers’ empowerment should be realised through government’s payment of proper salaries and allowances for all qualified teaching staff, adding that the recruitment of qualified teachers must become an immediate goal if the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four is to be achieved in Zimbabwe.
SDG four calls on all governments to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all by 2030.
Speaking in an interview on the eve of the World Teachers’ Day celebrations which are held on October 5 worldwide, Mr Nganunu said the 2017 World Teacher’s Day theme, “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers”, referred to the aspirations of the Zimbabwean teacher who longed for empowerment and freedom in their profession.
“As teachers, we need this empowerment, our teachers need befitting salaries, they have gone through the necessary steps that qualify them to earn respect for their work of empowering and imparting critical skills in learners that shall be used for generations to come, yet the quality of recognition that is earned through low salaries is unacceptable to this profession,” said Mr Nganunu.
He said Zimta is advocating for the employment of qualified staff in schools because that is the only way of guaranteeing that quality education is delivered in all schools at all levels. “The teacher today has lost a number of benefits. The rural allowance that used to attract qualified teachers to come and teach in remote areas is now so little, it’s no longer an incentive.
“Also, we have a new curriculum that requires us to pull up our socks yet the resources for doing so have not been provided adequately. Surely, we need to be empowered and be given the freedom to carry out our work the way we know best.
“Government must provide the tools and the resources and motivate us to work through improved salaries. That is our incentive, at least the most important one,” said Mr Nganunu.
World Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually and globally October 5.
According to Unesco, World Teachers’ Day represents significant contributions that teachers make to education and development.
Education International, (E.I) a federation that represents education professionals worldwide, where Zimta is also affiliated, also believes that the principles of the 1966 and 1997 recommendations should be considered for implementation in all countries.