Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Lazarus Dokora has said his Ministry will wield the axe on headmasters whose schools have recorded zero percent pass rates in public examinations.
In an interview on the side-lines of the commissioning of a Form Three classroom block and the donation of 22 000 books worth $10 000 to Sarah Bata Senior School in Gweru yesterday, Dr Dokora said Government does not employ people to underperform.
The Minister also said those who have been abusing school funds would be dealt with.
“We have schools that have recorded zero percent pass rates in Zimsec examinations both primary and secondary. We are very worried about that and as a ministry we want to warn such school heads that they risk being either demoted or even fired for poor performance.
“We don’t employ people to underperform and it is important for these headmasters to start working hard to improve results or risk being demoted or fired, “ he said.
Dr Dokora said headmasters involved in maladministration and embezzlement of school funds also risk being fired.
He said the ministry was worried that most of the schoolheads embezzling schools funds were acting.
“There are more than 8 000 headmasters in Government schools and about half of them are acting. Most of these acting school heads are the ones embezzling school funds,” he said.
Dr Dokora said some of the culprits had been fired while others were facing disciplinary hearings following audits at their schools.
He said because of bottlenecks in the promotion of headmasters, his ministry was now forced to take back retired school heads.
“Our system and its promotion mechanisms are not keeping pace with some of the realities on the ground. There is a need to speed up the process of confirming those that qualify for promotions,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Dokora took a swipe at people he said were abusing social media to criticise him.
“This is not new (selling goats and cattle to pay fees). Our parents used to sell cattle to send us to school. What is so unusual about selling goats to send your child to school? This is not extremely exotic to our societies we have been doing that. Now the social media is now awash with cartoons of me and my long beard,” he said.
The Minister said people were also crticising the new curriculum on social media .
“They are asking why we introduced the new curriculum but we don’t run ministries or the country on social media. We are practical people. People spend so much time on social media and by so doing one becomes disconnected to the reality of what is happening in the environs,” he said.