- Zimbabwean government has postponed reopening of schools for two weeks pending the completion of the marking of 2008 national examinations. But other sources in the ministry said the decision also had to do with the lack of a 2009 budget and demands by the country's teachers to be paid in foreign currency.
The education ministry's permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, said significant number of teachers will be tied up marking the exams, forcing government to postpone reopening until 27 January. The schools were expected to resume classes on 13 January.
Traditionally, Grade 7 results are released a week before schools close for the third term or the first two weeks of December to give students and parents ample time to secure Form One places.
Mr Mahere urged schools which want to increase their fees to submit their requests as soon as possible, as schools are unable to put up fees without the government's consent.
However, last year, teachers began a year on a very low note, dragging their feet demanding about US$800 per month, which the government said it was ridiculous. Teachers in Zimbabwe are among the least paid in the civil service.
Local reports said over the past two years, the teachers have been on and off strikes, demanding higher wages, although the ministry has decided to turn a blind bye on them.
Zimbabwe's inflation which is reported to be more than 230 million percent, has left teachers stranded even unable to go to work, forcing them to leave the country at an alarming number for better paying jobs elsewhere.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the largest teachers' representative body in the country, has pledged that its members will not go to work until their demands are met by the ZANU-PF government.
Meanwhile, president Robert Mugabe has replaced some ministers who lost seats in last March's elections, a move, according to local newspaper, aimed at paving way for the formation of the new government in February.
President Mugabe signed a power sharing deal with opposition MDC and MDC faction in September. But since, then, the deal has stalled over the allocation of key ministerial position.
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