Teachers yet to benefit on School Fees Allowances

Teachers have called on government to speed up the fulfillment of its promise of paying School Fees for their children as nothing has materialised ever since the promise was made on 28 February 2022.

Government promised that it would pay school fees for every teaching family for upto three biological children at a maximum of ZWL $20 000 per child per term as a way of improving the welfare of teachers and as a part of other incentives extended to civil servants on  28 February 2022.

Teachers are generally dissatisfied over the slow motion approach being undertaken by government to fulfill the promise.

Speaking in an interview, a Harare based teacher Ms Tariro Gomo said school fees for the previous terms was long overdue and this was now disadvantaging her as she had to hustle to pay for her children’s fees, yet government had promised that it would do so long back.

“I am a widow with three children, the eldest is in High School and the other two are in Primary school and each one of them needs school fees. The government promised us non-monetary benefits which included payment of school fees for our children, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet which is a setback for me as a parent as I have to fend for my children from the poor salary I get, where do I get the fees from such a paltry remuneration which is not even enough to pay for my bills,” said Ms Tariro Gomo from Highfield in Harare.

“It then becomes hard for me to teach other people’s children when my own children are being chased out of school because of failure to pay school fees. It is my plea that government considers our situation as teachers and fulfills this promise that it made,” said Gomo.

A public press statement issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC)on 28 February 2022 stated that the Apex Council, on behalf of public service workers’ unions, and government representatives, met in the National Joint Negotiation Council (NJNC) where they negotiated and signed an agreement which provided the following, payment of school fees for every teaching family for up to three biological children at a maximum of ZWL $20 000 per child per term and modalities of implementation would be worked out by the relevant authorities, Provision of 34 000 housing units as institutional accommodation for teachers within and outside school premises over a period of five years, a provision of a special monthly facility to transport teachers in both rural and urban areas on pay date, Payment of advancement awards, with immediate effect, backdated to 2012 and subject to computations among others.

Responding to the teachers’ sentiments, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) President, Mr. Richard Gundane said it was high time government considered the plight of teachers and honored its promises.

“The school fees issue was tabled early this year but up to now no school fees has been paid for educators’ children and as we are into the third term, it is important that the policy be implemented and payments begin to be paid in schools so that teachers and their children do not get embarrassed when their children are excluded from certain school activities. This is a very urgent matter and beyond that we demanded there be inclusivity when it comes to such benefits. The school fees benefit must be structured in such a way that every educator out there benefits.”

On 21 May 2022 The Herald reported that Government had moved to fulfil its commitment to improve conditions of service for teachers and had released $2, 68 billion towards payment of their children’s school fees as agreed in February, yet teachers are yet to see these payments.

The Secretary to the Public Service Commissions, Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, was quoted in the Herald of 21 May confirming the release of the funds to cater for 103 556 children from all the country’s 10 provinces.

He was quoted as saying, “Details of 103 556 children of some 52 171 teachers from all the 10 provinces have so far been identified by schools as eligible for this benefit.”

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