Harare, Zimbabwe. (News of The South) – Much has been said about ED’s 100 Days. Much of it has been on the political and economic dimensions and it is imperative to give an educational thread to it. Indeed there was so much hope associated with kutonga kwaro gamba that assumed the dawn of a new era and the end of Mugabeism. There were many expectations from Mnangagwa’s regime by teachers who also marched in celebrating the fall of a dictator Robert Mugabe
– There was much hope when Mnangagwa promised to intervene on behalf of teachers who are milked by financial sharks such as McDowells, ZICCU, All Angels, etc.
– The dismissal of Dokora after a few days of reappointment gave teachers hope for better things to come and appropriate curriculum review.
– There was great anticipation for a salary increase more so given promises enunciated by the the Major General Sibusiso Moyo to protect interests of civil servants.
-Teachers hoped for the easing of the liquidity crisis
-Many expected an improved budget allocation to education in light of the new curriculum
Undoubtedly the removal of numerous police roadblocks has allowed freedom of movement by teachers and pupils and improved their punctuality. Other than this other interventions have remained half-baked, inadequate and therefore limited in nature.
– The intervention against financial sharks fleecing teachers has remained a promise with no practical results up to now.
– There has been no salary increase and no improvement of conditions of service.
– The 2017 bonus has not yet been paid and the so called staggered payment would continue in the Mugabe preferential treatment of armed forces as they are getting their bonus in March while teachers would get it in May.
-Mnangagwa’s government has continued to treat teachers in a degrading, discriminatory and servitude manner as they are the only government workers who since 2016 are not enjoying 3 months vacation leave.
– Minister Chinamasa has cut the education budget thereby affecting recruitment of ECD teachers and payment of student teachers.
– The government has continued with freezing of new posts, regrading and promotions resulting in bloated classes and disillusionment.
-Mnangagwa’s regime has put Civil Servants under the Office of the President and Cabinet that has seriously violated fair labour practice and contravene ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 151 as well as Zimbabwe’s National Constitution (sections 199-203). -Not surprisingly over the 100 days there was no engagement between government and workers’ representatives under the NJNC collective bargaining which in principle is collective begging and not binding.
-Though Prof Mavima has repirtedly enunciated reforms limiting number of subjects at primary and discarding tasks and projects as recommended by Ptuz in January symposium this has not been followed by appropriate circular to schools for implementation. Not surprisingly primary schools are still pre-occupied with too many subjects and timetable challenges.
-The teams looking at reaxamination of new curriculum are lethargic and schools may even spend the whole term misfiring or covering aspects that may be discarded later
– As much as the new Minister Prof Mavima showed initial great enthusiasm and untrammeled energy his current lethargy seem to confirm our fears that he may have been captured by Dokoraiosis emanating from the entourage at head office.
– The permanent secretary, Dr Utete Masango has continued along an erroneous path of charging teachers without investigations and when hearings are conducted and teachers are found innocent, cancelling initial charges and trying to raise new charges.
– Worse still Dr Utete Masango has been protecting corrupt officials who conive with some school heads to raise false and flimsy charges against innocent teachers and threaten such teachers to pay some money in order to protect their job. While Director Gonese claims investigations are at an advanced stage to apprehend the culprits, the permanent secretary is busy dismissing teachers who have tried to expose the corruption in the Ministry. One wonders why the permanent secretary is not aware of cases that have been reported to the Ministry by Ptuz so much that she is on a war path against innocent teachers. Mnangagwa’s 100 Days have therefore failed to stamp out corruption in the Ministry of Education which was also brought to the attention of the Minister.
– Worse still the 100 days have witnessed growing lawlessness in schools in which people just walk into school premises to close a school or assault teachers. Such lawlessness in not conducive for effective teaching and learning.
As much as many things have happened in schools under ED’s 100 days, there has been very limited engagement with teacher unions to shape a credible education system. The issue of conditions of service and motivation of teachers in order to enhance effective teaching have been totally neglected. Benchmarks for a broad curriculum that equips students with life serving skills needs to be clearly crafted. The honours is upon union leaders and members to get something they never had by doing something they never did. Teachers cannot stand silent as the profession is targeted for vandalism by uncaring leaders. While dialogue is our initial engagement, there comes a time when sharpening instruments of combat is necessary in enhancing dialogue.
Viva Ptuz Viva
Dr Takavafira Zhou
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