Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
REPORTS that teachers whose schools post poor results could forfeit as much as three months’ pay annually are a “cruel hoax”, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
Two newspapers claimed this week that teachers would be hit with the cuts starting 2017.
The reports cited the 2016 National Budget presented by the Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa as the source of the shock announcement which has left unions contemplating strikes.
They alleged that teachers at all schools which register below 50 percent pass rate at Grade Seven and O-Level would forego their April, August and December salaries.
The newspapers also reported that the Ministry had also revised the Early Childhood Development (ECD) teacher pupil ratio to 1:25 from 1:20 and 1:40 up from 1:35 for junior schools.
But The Chronicle can reveal today that the purported statement by Chinamasa is a social media hoax.
And yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora blasted: “Those claims that found their way into national newspapers are disgusting and without foundation at all. Minister Chinamasa’s statement is widely available, even online. He said nothing of the sort. “Journalists are now quoting creative artists. The same thing they were doing about O-Level examination results claiming I spoke about their release when those results are not even out. It’s nonsense”.
He said there was clear evidence of rampant and irresponsible journalism purporting to report on education while calculated to stampede the sector into some reaction.
“As far as the ministry is concerned, we’ve not received any official communication to the effect that teachers’ salaries will be cut or discontinued during holidays.
“The same article makes reference to the teacher-pupil ratio which is not congruent with the ministry’s position. If anything, the teacher pupil ratio has been adjusted in favour of the teachers at infant level as it now stands at 1:25 from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to Grade Two,” said Dokora.
Previously, he added, the teacher-pupil ratio was 1:40 for Grade One and Two. “The teacher pupil ratio for junior school has never been 1:35. It has always been 1:40 and it remains the same,” said the Minister.
Ministers fear that the false reports risk demoralising teachers countrywide.