The non-payment of allowances to teachers marking Zimbabwe Examination Centre (ZIMSEC) papers has caused them excessive stress as a leading union claims at least one teacher has died.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Takavafira Zhou recently told Grazers News that one teacher had died at Masvingo Polytechnic College due to stress over the non-payment of allowances.
The teachers are marking Ordinary and Advanced Level examination transcripts for students who sat for their examinations last year.
Before the teachers went into the marking centres, they were promised US$25 a day for those staying out of residences and US$12 for those living inside the marking centres.
However, government has failed to honour the promise to pay.
Marking of national high school examinations has perennially been characterised by disgruntlement as teachers invariably complain of low rates and late payment.
The teachers checked into the marking on 9 February.
“Some teachers are now dying of stress at the marking centres. We have one case in point of a teacher who died at Masvingo Polytechnic but we can’t reveal the name. Some are just stressed and incurring discomfort,” said Zhou.
Over the weeks teachers have been protesting and threatening to walk out of the marking centres due to pay their allowances.
Zhou revealed that government had since deployed anti-riot police at the marking centres to monitor teachers as they mark the examinations.
Taungana Ndoro, the education ministry spokesperson refused to shed light on what the government was doing to ease the teacher crisis at marking centres.
“Please contact ZIMSEC,” he said.
When schools opened in January teachers declared incapacitation and demanded that their salaries be restored to the minimum US$540 when Zimbabwe’s economy was dollarised.
Government responded in a heavy-handedness manner by issuing a blanket dismissal of the teachers who joined the strike.
The move was, however, reversed by the courts.
ZIMSEC spokesperson, Nicholette Dhlamini said the examining body was processing the allowances for the teachers, insisting there was calm at the centres.
“We have not received reports of examiners collapsing. ZIMSEC examiners have been paid allowances in accordance with their contracts and terms held therein. Balances due as stated are currently being paid,” said Dhlamini.