Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
ONLY 50 percent of teachers have turned up for duty in Bulawayo with pupil attendance pegged at 68 percent.
Bulawayo Provincial Deputy Education Director Mr Thabani Sibanda told a Bulawayo Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce meeting yesterday that teachers have informed education officials that they are incapacitated.
Mr Sibanda was asked to provide figures of those not reporting for work by the chairperson of the Bulawayo provincial taskforce, who is also the Minister of Local Government and Public Works Cde July Moyo after he said teachers in the province were not reporting for work.
“As of Friday, we sampled 75 schools for teacher and learner attendance. The provincial teacher attendance was at 50 percent while learner attendance was at 68 percent. The teacher attendance drastically dropped due to incapacitation notices forwarded to schools, districts and the province,” said Mr Sibanda.
He could not give yesterday’s statistics as he said they still were being compiled.
Minister Moyo said it was unfortunate that teachers are earning money without working, a situation he said will affect the future of pupils.
“Our pass rates were very bad last year and now we have the opportunity to recover and we have people who are saying ‘incapacitation’.
The information we have is that even those who go to school go and sit and not teach. What are we doing to our children?” he asked.
He appealed to all stakeholders and the provincial Covid-19 taskforce to work together to solve the problem as learners have lost a lot of time in the classrooms.
Minister Moyo said in some schools, pupils were spending time playing in schools as they have no one attending to them.
The minister said while other provinces like Masvingo have over 90 percent of teachers and learners conducting lessons it was sad that teachers in Bulawayo have decided to deprive pupils of education.
“We also have to ask ourselves if the low figure of 68 percent pupil attendance is the decision of parents to keep their children away from school because there is no learning taking place at school or it is the fear of Covid-19. We must find answers to these questions,” he said.
Primary and Secondary Education Ministry director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro said there will be consequences for those who are not attending lessons.
“We are still compiling the figures of those who are not attending classes since we are coming from the holiday. It is a serious cause for concern and that is the reason why the minister has said there will be consequences. The problem is more pronounced in Bulawayo and Harare as some members have ignored the call for strike by their unions,” he said.
Teacher unions who spoke to Chronicle confirmed that their members were not reporting for duty.
“We communicated this position about our incapacitation to the Government when the year began. I don’t blame those teachers who are failing to attend because we cannot subsidise the Government. The incapacitation is real,” said Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union Secretary-General Mr Goodwill Taderera.
He said the money they are getting is not enough to meet their requirements as they are failing to meet their basic needs.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said their position was that teachers attend classes once a week. — @themkhust