Teachers for Economic Development code-named TeachersforED is a voluntary teacher organisation aimed at economically empowering the country’s educators through self-income generating projects.[1]

Formation

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education approved the formation of TeachersforED in June 2022.[2]

The Ministry's permanent secretary, Tumisang Thabela, on 22 June 2022 wrote a letter to all provincial education directors advising them that the Teachers for Economic Development had been granted permission to conduct the provincial and national launches.

In August 2022, Trs4ED secretary-general, Takaiteyi Masikati, said that the organisation's aim was to build patriotic and conscious teachers who will be implementers of national programmes.

Masikati said the organisation was established to support President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.[3]

Controversies

The formation of TeachersforED was condemned by some leaders of teacher unions who felt that it would result in the politicisation of schools as it had the backing of the ZANU PF-led government.[4]

Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) secretary-general, Obert Chere, who has been arrested several times for his activism, said “political vultures” were trying to infiltrate schools through TeachersforED.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Takavafira Zhou, described leaders of the TeachersforED organisation as "lackeys, clients and cronies of ZANU PF."

The union was accused of holding midweek workshops at schools thus disrupting learning as teachers reportedly abandoned classes to attend the workshops to avoid victimisation.[5]

Close Association With the Government

Alleged close links between the union and the government have raised the eyebrows of other teachers' unions.

Addressing delegates during the workshop of Teachers for Economic Development held at Mutare Showgrounds on 12 October 2022, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said it was high time that teachers actively participate in the economic development of the country. She said:

Some might think that the Teachers for ED is a sub-political initiative, but I tell you it is for your advantage and that of your family to be part of such a noble initiative aimed at empowering our educators. The time has come for teachers to be active participants in the economic empowerment programmes of our country.

On 22 September 2022, the acting Primary and Secondary Education secretary Kwadzanai Nyanungo wrote a letter to TeachersforED granting the union permission to conduct midweek workshops in schools.

Nyanungo reminded the union that teacher participation in its proposed activities should be voluntary and discouraged the disruption of planned teaching and learning in schools.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro defended the mid-week workshops saying the workshops benefited teachers.

However, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said that TeachersforED was being given preferential treatment by the government.

Zimbabwe National Teachers Union chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said the formation of the TeachersforED union is a strategy by the government to weaken the collective bargaining power of teachers' unions.

Further Reading

  1. More teachers to be empowered: Mutsvangwa, Ray Bande, published: 13 October 2022, retrieved: 13 October 2022
  2. Teachers for ED union formed, Lorraine Muromo, published: 11 August 2022, retrieved: 13 October 2022
  3. NEW: Teachers4ED fully behind Vision 2030, Online Reporter, published: 17 August 2022, retrieved: 13 October 2022
  4. Mnangagwa’s shadowy group invades schools, Brenna Matendere, Published: 23 August 2022, Retrieved: 13 October 2022
  5. Teachers for ED ‘invade’ schools, Miriam Mangwaya, Published: 13 October 2022, Retrieved: 13 October 2022