Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Government yesterday moved to fulfil its commitment to improve conditions of service for teachers after releasing $2,68 billion towards payment of their children’s school fees as agreed in February.
The money will cover fees for the first term, while funds for the second term fees will be disbursed in due course.
Secretary to the Service Commissions, Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, confirmed the release of the funds that will cater for 103 556 children from all the country’s 10 provinces.
“In line with its commitment to improving conditions of service for its employees, the Government has approved a budget release of $2,68 billion towards the payment of tuition fees for teachers’ children.
“Details of 103 556 children of some 52 171 teachers from all the 10 provinces have so far been identified by schools as eligible for this benefit,” he said.
In February this year, as a way of improving the welfare of teachers and as a part of a host of other incentives extended to civil servants, the Government made an undertaking to pay school fees for up to three biological children per teaching family, paying up to $20 000 per child per term.
Ambassador Wutawunashe said the payments would be made directly to schools.
The disbursement of fees requires confirmation by schools of the teachers’ children and those who qualify for the benefit.
Ambassador Wutawunashe said the process of identifying eligible children and teachers was ongoing.
“Given the sheer scale of the exercise, Government is aware that there may be schools which are yet to furnish the requisite details, but has taken the decision to make disbursements in respect of schoolchildren whose details have been verified and submitted by schools, while awaiting the completion of the exercise in respect of those whose details may still be outstanding,” he said.
“For that reason, parents whose children ’s details have been provided will shortly receive the benefit in respect of Term 1, which will be followed by the disbursement by Government of fees due for Term 2.”
Ambassador Wutawunashe said Government appreciated the patience and understanding demonstrated by the intended beneficiaries in allowing the processes, that were necessary in securing a reliable system for the payment by Government of school fees for qualifying children of teachers, to proceed. He said Government remained committed to improving the conditions of service for civil servants and negotiations would commence soon.
The Government has also promised to construct 34 000 housing units and 2 125 blocks of flats over a five-year period as institutional accommodation including critical amenities for teachers within the school premises.