A GROUP of about 20 teachers with business interests is set to leave for China and Dubai tomorrow to buy goods for re–sale to supplement their paltry salaries.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu confirmed the development yesterday saying the trip was organised by his union.
Ndlovu said the trips were open for well–resourced teachers with the means to pay transport costs and raise enough cash to buy goods for resale.
“These are teachers who have personal resources and they are embarking on this trip to get goods for resale,” he said. It is understood that the round trip costs $1 095 and beneficiaries are also required to pay an additional $110 non-refundable commitment fee.
Ndlovu said the trips were scheduled during school holidays so that they did not interfere with the teaching programmes.
The last trip, which was in December 2013, saw a group of 43 teachers going to China and Dubai.
“These trips are motivated by a desire for economic emancipation,” Ndlovu said. “The teachers also need to make ends meet because of our suppressed salary levels. So we encourage our able teachers to go.”
Teachers in Zimbabwe earn a basic salary of between $300 and $480 per month, but the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a food basket for an average family of five now costs $540 a month.
Teacher organisations are currently locking horns with the Primary and Secondary Education ministry over issues of extra lessons and incentives, through which hard-pressed teachers have been augmenting their salaries.
In a circular dated February 17 2014 sent to all Zimta structures, Ndlovu said: “This time we will visit Guangzhou and Dubai — the business and cultural hub of the Middle East and Persian Gulf region. The two uniquely different cities and continents will be visited in one trip.”