By Prisca Manyiwa-Masuku
Zimbabwean teachers have grumbled over ‘stressful’ Continuous Assessment of Learning Activities (CALA), poor working conditions and poor remuneration.
Having been expected to produce so much out of so little, teachers have bemoaned their poor working conditions that have practically drained their physical and mental well-being.
Speaking during the Teachers Day commemorations held in Kwekwe recently, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou said poor remuneration and poor working conditions are leading to the production of poor education products in Zimbabwe.
“We cannot have quality education without quality teachers, we have shortage of over 50000 teachers in Zimbabwe so we have shortage of teachers and a salary shortage. So, basically a quality product cannot be produced under the circumstances.
“We are trying the impossible, because if we want to produce best quality education we should have enough teachers and quality teachers.
“People may think that if our classroom doors are open it means the children are learning when in actual fact, the classroom doors and windows may be open but without any meaningful teaching going on.
“We have teachers who are mentally resigned although they are physically there. So we need an environment where a teacher is motivated to work, he said.
Zhou bemoaned how the teaching profession has been reduced to attract the poor quality personnel who have failed to sail through in other professions and have found solace in the teaching profession.
“Teaching is now attracting the worst personnel, people who have six examination seatings and have failed to sail through in other fields are joining the teaching profession. This is because of conditions, if we improve the conditions we can still attract the best personnel and produce the best product,” he said.
Teachers also bemoaned poor working conditions.
“If we get our salaries in United States Dollars our welfare will be better as teachers.
“CALA is very stressful, imagine I am a primary school teacher. I have 60 learners in my class and each learner is supposed to do 30 CALAs so it is 60 multiplied by 30. It is a really stressful situation which drains our health and wellbeing so we need help,” said one of the teachers.
The commemorations were held under the theme, ‘The education we want and global imperative to reverse teacher shortage.’