|Editorial Comment: Let teachers participate in referendum process|
|Monday, 04 March 2013 20:12|
We do not understand the reasoning behind releasing temporary teachers because their pupils will be equally affected by lost learning time. Pupils being taught by temporary teachers are already disadvantaged given the fact that their teachers have limited skills so these are the pupils whose learning should not be disrupted.
The teachers' unions have accused Mr Coltart of deliberately seeking to deny them the extra dollar by barring them from participating in national events such as the referendum. The unions argue that over the years teachers have made up for lost time. They said the ministry should leave it up to individual teachers to decide whether or not to participate in national events such as the referendum. We do appreciate that learning time is lost when teachers participate in national events such as referendum or elections but as the teachers unions have said, teachers have always made up for the lost time and the same should continue to happen.
Minister Coltart by barring teachers from participating in national events is not just denying teachers extra income but is attempting to disrupt the holding of these national events given the fact that the bulk of the manpower for these events has over the years been drawn from the education sector. Minister Coltart, we want to believe, is genuinely concerned about the disruption of the learning process and not just politicking or seeking unnecessary attention through uninformed utterances. What the Minister should do if he is genuinely concerned about the disruption of the learning process, is to ensure school authorities come up with measures to make up for the lost time as opposed to demoralising teachers by denying them extra income.
The morale of teachers like the rest of civil servants is at its lowest ebb due to poor salaries and Minister Coltart is not helping the situation by denying them opportunities to earn extra income. It is a fact that many teachers have remained at government schools because of the incentives paid by parents. Participating in national events like the referendum or elections should therefore remain an incentive for teachers.
Minister Coltart has over the years defended the payment of incentives to teachers because he appreciates that their salaries are low. The fact that Minister Coltart has not communicated his ministry's position to ZEC means his were just proposals which should be rejected for want of reason.