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Published: January 7, 2009
By Moses Muchemwa
Bulawayo (ZimEye) – The Zimbabwean government has deferred the schools opening amid calls by teachers not to return to work until salaries are paid in foreign currency.
The schools were supposed to open on 13 January but will now start on 27 January.
A massive teacher exodus is also reported and the Zimbabwe Teachersâ€™ Association puts the figure at 30 000. The teachers are in great trek to South Africa and Botswana.
The extension of the schools holiday confirms the collapse of the education system. Last year, pupils and students spend the whole year without learning as teachers were on strike.
Schools have joined the dollarisation craze and some trust institutions demand up to US$2 500per term.
As usual, the Zimbabwe government blamed â€œillegal sanctions imposed by Britain and her alliesâ€ for the delay in opening schools.
In a statement, secretary for education, sport and culture Stephen Mahere, said: â€œI can confirm that we have received several applications from schools that are intending to charge fees in foreign currency, but we are still to decide whether to allow them [to].â€
There are also doubts that universities will open for this yearâ€™s first semester. The University of Zimbabwe failed to open for a whole semester last year due to acute shortage of food and clean water.
Almost all facets of the economy have collapsed with the inflation rate estimated at 500 quintillion by independent financial institutions.
(Moses Muchemwa is a journalist and partner with the ZimEye. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)