Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) today launched an online training program targeting rural teachers with the intention of capacitating them with skills to embark on various income generating projects to cushion them from the harsh economic conditions prevailing in the country.
The initiative comes at a time teachers’ wages have been severely eroded by the rising cost of living.
In a telephone interview with 263Chat, ARTUZ president, Obert Maraure said most teachers were not equipped on issues around project management and financial literacy.
“We are really focusing on capacitating teachers on the skills of project management. So we really take them through the process of identifying projects to embark on, the kind of planning needed, even how to mitigate the possible risks, just planning ahead,”
“We will teach them how to implement and evaluate the projects and also touch on financial literacy. We want to enhance their skills in running successful business projects because we want them to be cushioned from the harsh economic conditions that the country is currently facing,” added Maraure.
The program is expected to commence beginning of the schools holiday and will target a special batch of teachers who will be trained to be trainers as the program expands.
So far, a team of 40 untrained teachers representing most of the districts across the country have registered for the training to be conducted online, simultaneously and with each teacher schooling from their respective location.
“Our first team will be trainers because we are going to be training trainers. We hope they will be able to train other comrades in different districts. At the end of the day, we hope we have comrades who are financially literate, who are also able to undertake income generating projects,” added Maraure.
All the participants across the country’s rural districts, who will be in the inaugural class have already confirmed access to internet for the smooth flow of lessons.
ARTUZ has been highly critical of civil servants salaries and has in the past organized demonstrations such as the Mutare-Harare walk airing the plight of rural teachers.
Analysts have welcomed the latest initiative by the labour pressure group, saying it will capacitate teachers with skills for survival if rolled out equitably across the country but they however remain concerned about the high cost of capital in the country which has crippled most emerging enterprises.
Recently, RBZ raised its lending rates to local banks from 15 percent to 50 percent, meaning enterprising citizens will have to put up with far higher borrowing rates when they apply for loans.