In Zimbabwe, teachers with disabilities are demanding the government to pay their assistants the US$75 COVID-19 allowances being paid to all civil employees, saying the practice was discriminatory, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the country’s educators embarked on a nationwide boycott of classes since schools reopened last week, demanding salary payments in United States dollars and improved working conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic that has so far killed over 200 Zimbabweans.
It also comes as teachers vowed to continue with their job action after their meeting with the government failed to yield any results as their employer did not bring an improved offer to the table.
“They expected their employer to treat their aides as equal civil servants.” Abiot Moyo, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.
“Surprisingly, our assistants are not included in the COVID-19 allowances, yet we were made to understand that it was a risk allowance since we are working in an environment that exposes us.
“We put it to the minister that one begins to question the discriminatory nature of the allowance as they are biased against the visually impaired and others living with other disabilities.
“The response from the Public Service minister (Paul Mavima) was quite encouraging because he promised to act on our complaint,” Moyo said.
He also said they had complained about how authorities deploy teachers with physical challenges to environs that are “even more disabling”.
Teachers with disabilities work with assistants who help them execute their duties efficiently while receiving the government’s payment.
Zimbabwe’s government has faced criticism over the years for neglecting teachers and learners with disabilities despite getting funding from UN Children’s Fund and other international donors to ensure the needs of disabled students and teachers are met.