Payment of incentives to teachers banned

Minister Dokora

Minister Dokora

Felex Share Harare Bureau
Government has banned payment of incentives to teachers by parents and guardians as it seeks to restore sanity and equality in the education sector.The move, which is set to bring relief to parents, would likely put government on a collision course with the teachers, whose leaders yesterday claimed were not consulted over the issue.

The incentives were introduced in 2009 by the then Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart to motivate teachers to continue with the teaching profession as they were getting meagre salaries.

They, however, became a highly charged and divisive issue as they only applied to a small proportion of schools, mainly those in urban areas.

Some teachers in rural areas never received incentives since 2009 while a number of headmasters clashed with teachers over non-payment and abuse of the inducements. Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora confirmed the scrapping of the incentives yesterday on the sidelines of the 33rd Zimbabwe Teachers Association conference in Harare.

He said while incentives had played “a critical role at a critical juncture” it was now time for them to go.

“There is no justification for their payment,” he said. “Their payment is not consistent with the educational values they are meant to be servicing. They played an important role at a critical juncture and we thank the parents for that but we cannot continue with a consumptive way.”

Minister Dokora had earlier on told delegates that a circular outlawing the incentives had been sent to all schools. This was after the delegates had asked him about the government policy on incentives.

“You are asking if the policy on the issue is there and if a circular has been sent to the schools. Yes it is there and from here go and ask the heads of your stations about the policy. If you asked them yesterday and they said they do not know about it I do not know why they were hiding that from you,” Minister Dokora said.

Legal experts described incentives as a form of extortion as most parents and guardians paid them grudgingly so that their children could not be victimised.

Minister Dokora recently said that the ministry held wide-ranging consultations with various stakeholders and the effects of incentives on the quality of service delivery had been noted.

But Zimta chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said government should have consulted them before taking action. As such, he said, educators would not recognise the circular.

“I have not gone through that circular but this reveals that the ministry is not transparent and intellectually honest,” he said.
“As stakeholders we should have been a participant in receiving that. In the absence of that and as representatives of teachers, we will continue to deny the existence of that circular until we have a delivery of that in our hands as a union. We still hold on the 2009 circular number 5 that legalised incentives.”

Teachers’ unions have been against the payment of the incentives from the start, arguing that the long-term solution was to increase salaries and improve conditions of service.

Meanwhile, Minister Dokora said no school headmasters and education officials should stop teachers from planning and scheming their work using laptops and computers.

He said President Mugabe’s computerisation programme was aimed at equipping pupils and teachers with new information technology and those headmasters should change their perception and attitude.

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  • Hatterncourt Mazwimabi Ralph

    I think it is too early to scrap the incentives. Some parents are the ones who initiate the payment of incentives because they want their children to receive quality education.

    • Jotham

      I support your idea – the stoppage of these incentives will result in teachers calling for strikes after strike- thereby destroying our children’s education. The Govt. should have taken at least 2 years before the removal of these incentives.

  • parkshungs

    The gvt is employer for teachers not parents therefore teachers should be paid by gvt not parents , however the gvt seems to be failing to pay reasonable salaries .Who then immediately suffer . Obviously the parents . Therefore , the parents who want their children to learn opt for incentives . However , the rural parents cannot afford to pay incentives to teachers .This means partial commercialisation of education sector which is not idea of the government but equality in education . Therefore , the gvt is only trying to be impartial and bring fairness to the education factor in as much as parents endeavour to ensure quality education of pupils .As for now there is no option other than to comply .If one wants to lobby a complain better do it thru unions and follow the procedure or else risk being charged .

  • rural

    the tricky situation is the rural teacher, urban teachers might get incentives but the other one doesn’t get any thing and is expected to produce the same results, the situation can not be done in an unfair way coz they are supposed to get same salary for same job, teachers would have to be patriotic to serve with all their hearts rather than cry the incentive issue the masses are facing hardships, teachers will have to understand, there comes the issue of do not do away with the other teacher without a degree the one who has the experience as govt might be held at ransom

  • Takuvara

    The minister has just opened the gates for teachers to go to South Africa, Botswana and other such countries. If government is going to pay enough to the teachers then it is alright. However, if it is the $50 increase then be prepared for mass exodus of teachers.
    Moreover, those teachers who will not have anywhere to run to will no longer teach. They will plan, scheme and not teach. At the end of it all the minister has doomed our children. Cry the the beloved child.

    • education is power

      takuvara wa ratidza ku kuvara mupfungwa my dear, if you say teachers will leave for Botswana and other countries that’s a big lie in those countries especially the ones that you reffered hav more than required teachers, qualified teachers with no jobs for more than five years, and now they are posting them to south sudan, pliz make your research properly, there is nothing special being a teacher we are all government civil servants, what about those working in the ministries & departments where are they getting than money to pay when they earn money from the same government, those incentives is just day light robbery

      • mr lee

        taura zvako manurse akati anodawo incentive pangawe ne chakanaka tese tiri macivil servants mari ngaingowedzerwa tifanane

  • mascara

    Ha ha-which teachers will rush for South Africa?Don’t overrate yourselves teachers and justify the blackmail you have been visiting upon parents.The door is open;go ahead to those so called greener pastures that are in fact deserts.Pillars of society indeed?

  • Disgusting!!!

    Teacher Incentives are akin to punishing both the school child and the parent!!! Parents are hardly earning enough money to feed children let alone go to school!!! Teachers are getting a REGULAR salary whilst some parents were RETRENCHED or are selling Juice Cards in the street or running a small market stall. The same Juice card vendor who is failing to earn $250 a month is expected to give a teacher more money!!!
    THIS IS AN INSULT & Grossly INHUMAN!!! Teachers are fast becoming fleecers if your salaries are increased do you cut back on the so called incentives!!! Get your pay from GOVERNMENT not from poor parents!!!! Those pupils will end up sleeping in class because of hunger whilst you keep talking in class??? Further Teachers are conducting extra lessons which are being paid for by the same PARENT. Be considerate enough this is not USA masiyanei nana Cashbert???

    • koooroo

      Let the Teachers go to Oz, New Zealand or USA not squeezing the last drop of blood from us parents!!!

  • mkhusto

    the idea is good what about the high school fees paid by my children, u should hav thot of slashing thm down also if u cared for me as a parent. infact this govnmnt should slash all their incentives under the name allowances. enjoy while it lasts….God Bless Zimbabwe

  • REGAI MUONE

    this i believe should only apply to 100% government schools not church schools that have contributed immensely to high pass rates. while teachers at church schools are paid by government, they are also complimenting govt efforts to educate the nation thus incentivising the teachers helps achieve better results which are there for all to see. this is the reason why most parents wish to send their children to these schools, for education with positive results and discipline. Dokora should not put a blanket solution to this otherwise peculiar situation which equates to a disastrous price freeze that emptied supermarket shelves. some of us can’t take our children to Peter house thus would opt for these middle income earner schools.