In Zimbabwe,children have returned to the classroom for the first time in six months since the coronavirus outbreak.
But teachers are nowhere to be seen as two unions went on strike on Monday in a dispute over pay, working conditions and COVID-19 protective equipment.
The government shut schools in March to prevent the spread of the pandemic, which has infected 7,683 people and led to 225 deaths in Zimbabwe.
Many schools have reopened this week as students prepare to sit their final exams.
“They did not turn up for duty and its early days yet to come up with a conclusive position in terms of attendance but the most important point is that teachers are not happy, teachers can’t survive, teachers couldn’t come to work,” said Raymond Majongwe, Secretary General, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.
Pay has been eroded after Zimbabwe switched from the US dollar to using its local currency two years ago.
“Teachers have lost their ranking in terms of our society, its actually an insult to be a teacher, its a curse and people are simply saying if government is honest address the problems so that we don’t have people who are coming 100 percent everyday to school yet they are physically absent, yet they are psychologically absent in these schools,” said Majongwe.
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