Teachers challenged the government to work out modalities that will help to improve their welfare so as to retain those intending to quit the profession in search of greener pastures, stressing that a salary increment of 100 per cent is necessary.
Chairman of the Dar es Salaam Teachers Union Zubeda Aziz said yesterday that teachers were paid less compared to other sectors which provide similar service to the society such as health practitioners, legal and extension officers.
She insisted on salary increment by 100 per cent, saying the 240,000/- monthly salary for teachers was as good as useless due to the increased cost of living. She said soon after the expiry of the 30-day notice issued to the government they were going to stage a countrywide strike which will involve primary and secondary schoolteachers and those in teachers' colleges.
The notice, according to her, expires on June 26,this year.
According to Zubeda, other teachers' claims include payment of teaching allowances which is 55 per cent for science teachers, 50 per cent for those teaching other subjects and 30 per cent for those living in underprivileged regions. She said the percentages should be calculated depending on their monthly salaries.
Elaborating, she said that teachers with certificates are now paid 240,000/- while nurses receive 472,000/-, extension officers 959,400/- and legal officers 630,000/-. She said teachers with diploma qualifications are getting 325,700/- while nurses get 682,000/-, extension officers 1,133,600/- and legal officers 1,077,500/-.
She however said the salary gap for university graduates in the mentioned fields was too big because while teachers are only paid 469,200/- per month their fellows with same qualifications are getting millions.
She said health practitioners with degree qualifications are going home with 802,200/-, lawyers 1,166,000/- and extension officers 1,354,000/-.
“We want the government to ensure a salary increment by 100 per cent to reduce the gap between us and other service providers. Low salaries result in more teachers running from the profession to search for greener pastures…these teachers should be retained because the government spends a lot of money to educate them”, she noted.
Zubeda said the strike is supported by teachers countrywide, adding they are now passing into schools to motivate teachers to participate in the strike. She said teachers have also been prepared legally to ensure that they are not penalized for the strike because all the procedures have been followed.
“Teachers in Dar es Salaam region are ready for the strike unless the government responds positively to their grievances,” said Zubeda.
She said the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) has been unsuccessfully taking different measures to push for improvement of teachers welfares. She said from January 2011 to May 2012 TTU leaders have been making follow up to responsible ministers and the President but nothing has been done.
Reacting to the queries State Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government Deputy Minister (Education) Kassim Majaliwa called on teachers to be patient and wait for the outcomes after completion of the budget session currently going on in the Parliament in Dodoma.
He said issues of salary increase are for all public servants and not only teachers. He however said teachers are yet to submit their official complaints to his office.
“We normally have a forum with teachers to discuss on various issues…we though they could bring the matter there but instead they have decided to talk to the media”, said Majaliwa.
Majaliwa said since the budget session is on, teachers should wait for the Finance Minister, Dr William Mgimwa when winding up estimates for the 2012/13 fiscal year to see whether their salaries have been improved or not.