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File photo / President Filipe Nyusi
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday urged teachers to avoid any act of corruption, which will undermine their position in society, and cause setbacks in the country’s development.
He was speaking in Maputo when a delegation from the teachers’ trade union, the ONP, came to visit him in the presidential offices, as part of the celebrations to mark Mozambican Teachers’ Day.
“Teachers should influence the environment in which they, and all of society, live”, said Nyusi. “Their role cannot be reduced just to the classroom”.
To ensure that they are valued by their pupils and by society, teachers must refrain from corruption, he warned, mentioning the repeated scandals of teachers making illicit charges or demanding bribes.
“No value can be given to someone who sells pass marks or certificates”, he said, “or who charges parents for enrolling their children”.
Such practices lead society to feel contempt for teachers, he said, and so must be avoided.
Nyusi also urged teachers to opt for dialogue when they face problems at work, rather than take action which might damage the interests of the pupils. “If you don’t receive overtime pay, the solution is not to abandon your activities”, he said. “It is not to abandon the classroom, or abandon the pupils, because you were not paid for overtime”.
Nyusi said the government is paying attention to all the problems that teachers face, particularly the failure to pay for overtime. He stressed that the government intends to solve these problems.
The President was certainly referring to a strike earlier this month in the southern province of Gaza, when about 500 teachers from secondary and technical schools in the provincial capital, Xai-Xai, went on strike because they had had not received overtime pay owing to them since 2015. They returned to work on Monday, in the belief that the government had promised to pay the money – which amounts to a total of 130 million meticais (2.13 million US dollars, at current exchange rates).
The ONP general secretary, Francisco Nogueira, presented the President with the problems that teachers face – first and foremost, their low wages.
“Teachers receive minimal wages which do not meet the current cost of living”, he said. “Paying fair wages to teachers should be seen as a public investment”.
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