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TEACHERS PROTEST ‘PEANUT’ MARKING ALLOWANCE

By SIMON MUNTEMBA

IT IS unacceptable in the 21st century to have a professional teacher working from 06: 00hours to 22:00 hours for 10 days away from home to be paid K1, 500 translating to K150 per day, the United Teachers Union of Zambia (UNITUZ) has protested.

UNITUZ executive president, Paul Chipimo said there was urgent need for the Government through the Ministry of Education to look into the plight of markers at both grade nine and twelve who risked their lives in the prevailing Covid-19 situation only to be paid peanuts.

Mr Chipimo, who noted with concern the poor conditions under which examiners were subjected to, told the Daily Nation that the teachers mark under stressful conditions which needed to be reviewed.

He said teachers were professionals who deserved to enjoy better conditions of services when called upon to perform national duties.

“It is unacceptable in the 21st century to have a worker working from 06: 00hours to   22:00 hours for ten days away from home and only to be paid K1, 500.00 translating to K150.00 per day,” Mr Chipimo said

Additionally, he said, markers are told to come with their own linen, toiletries and face masks which is inconveniencing and an additional cost.

He said it was disappointing that the teachers were made to mark huge numbers of scripts and subjected to long hours of working, in poor dilapidated classrooms, hostels posing a health risk to these hard working teachers, but paid peanuts.

Mr Chipimo warned the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) that the conditions being imposed on teachers were against the labour laws of Zambia and International Labour Organization conventions to which Zambia is a signatory.

He said ECZ should not take teachers for granted who gave themselves without reservations to go and perform the important task that determines the future of the candidates.

Efforts to get a comment from ECZ director, Michael Chilala proved futile by press time and written queries went unanswered.

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