Why slash student teachers’ salaries
By Trevor Makonyonga
The Zimbabwe civil service has once again been hit by another dubious decision by the cash stripped government as student teachers’ allowances have been slashed by half. The decision is one of the last grasp signs showing how the government has dismally failed to maintain conducive working standards. Sometime last year, the government hinted that they were considering making student nurses to pay which is against the standard the same government had set.
Cutting student teachers’ allowances will negatively affect the already ailing education sector in the country as most schools rely on the trainees. Most trained teachers are without jobs since the government seized to employ. By bruising the wallets of the available teachers, the government risks further annihilating the education sector. As it stands, the quest for education seems meaningless. Cases of school dropouts are increasing and most students have taken to drugs and substance abuse. Now the government is moving a step further by trying to ensure that the student teachers dropout of school too. Schools could soon be void.
Student teachers are expected to pay up their tuition fees before they go for their final examinations and these slashed allowances helped them to pay up. One interesting comment reportedly came from Seke Teachers’ College Principal Ephraim Mutubuki. He said, “You are not here to show us that you are poor.” He is said to have suggested that students should find a way to pay up.
The whole debacle shows that the government has failed in its mandate to support student professionals. Right now University and Polytechnic students have not been getting grants. The government does not have proper student aid plans in place and have made it difficult for an ordinary student to acquire higher education. Schools and colleges do not have sufficient equipment and very few of them have access to the internet.
If the government continues to strangle the last areas of breath Zimbabweans have, the whole country is going to be suffocated and things are going to remain standing still. There is need for progress in Zimbabwe.