Rural teachers get new allowances

Rural teachers get new allowances
Published: 05 January 2012 (2563 Views)
RURAL teachers will get 20 percent of their gross salaries as an allowance to cover incentives which their urban counterparts receive monthly from parents and guardians.

Most rural teachers are not getting incentives, creating a huge gap in earnings between them and their urban counterparts.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart yesterday said they were working with other stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance, on modalities of paying the allowance.

"The matter has been discussed in Cabinet and all the colleagues (ministers) were sympathetic with the rural teachers," Minister Coltart said.

"We agreed that Government should deal with the imbalances existing between urban and rural teachers and the solution lies in a rural allowance for the educators.

"Everyone understands the financial constraints facing the Finance Minister (Tendai Biti) but solutions have to be found to the problems affecting the education sector as it is the backbone of every developing nation."

Minister Coltart said teachers' incentives will stay in the first term, which begins on Tuesday, while ways to improve civil servants' conditions of service were being sought.

He said the state of the economy made it difficult for the Government to increase salaries for teachers.

"Nothing has changed economically and it is common knowledge that incentives have a discriminatory effect, but salaries have to be improved first," he said.

"The picture coming from Treasury shows that there won't be any reasonable salary increments for the workers hence the decision to keep incentives and advocate rural allowances."

Minister Coltart expressed hope that Government will review the salaries upwards and scrap incentives.

Government, teachers unions and other stakeholders agreed during last year's all-stakeholders' conference that incentives must be scrapped this year.

This was in anticipation of a salary hike in 2012 National Budget.

But, Minister Biti only managed to move the tax-free threshold by US$25 from US$225, but did not provide for a salary increment.

A series of meetings by stakeholders in the education sector were held last year over incentives after teachers at some schools went on strike.

It was generally agreed that incentives had caused chaos in the education sector.

A Victoria High School headmaster was last year assaulted by parents and pupils over incentives, while disturbances took place at some schools over the administration of the money.

- TH

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