Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has said teachers who have not reported for duty will face disciplinary action following revelations that by Friday last week, slightly over 32 percent of teachers were not at work.
Schools reopened last week for examination classes while other classes resumed lessons on Monday.
In an interview, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo said when schools reopened some teachers did not report for duty.
He said last Friday the attendance of teachers in Manicaland and Mashonaland Provinces stood at around 75 percent while in Midlands and Matabeleland Provinces attendance stood at around 55 percent.
He said the ministry will continue to monitor the attendance of teachers and relevant disciplinary action will be taken against those who do not report for work.
The deputy minister said learners were already behind because of the prolonged schools’ holidays and teachers had to be committed in order for them to catch up.
“The majority of our teachers had gone to work on Monday but what is concerning is that some had not reported for duty while learners were there. Last Friday an average of 67,4 percent teachers were at work and the difference could have been that some teachers responsible for non-examination classes were waiting for their pupils to open on Monday,” said the Deputy Minister.
“We have rules and regulations guiding our operations and if teachers abscond, they will face disciplinary action.”
Deputy Minister Moyo said Provincial Education Directors, District Schools Inspectors and school heads will continue to monitor attendance of teachers and reports will be sent to head office.
He said if teachers have grievances, they must wait for them to be addressed by relevant authorities.
The deputy minister said teachers were expected to go ahead full throttle to ensure that learners catch up on their syllabus.
“Parents are paying school fees and we want them to get value for their money and this is possible if their children are learning.
Teachers shouldn’t violate rights of learners in order to compensate for theirs. They must be patient and their problems will be solved,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo also warned schools against turning back learners for non-payment of school fees. He said some parents had lodged complainants that children were being turned back from school. He said school authorities had to engage parents over payment of fees without inconveniencing learners.
The deputy minister said schools have to come up with strategies to ensure that parents pay fees.
He said while pupils had lost out on learning time, the ministry will continue with continuous assessment of learners although it will now focus on what learners would have been taught.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer, Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said all teachers committed to report but some were facing challenges to go to work.
He said some teachers working in rural areas could not afford transport fares as transporters were charging forex.
Dr Ndlovu said they had engaged Government over the matter but so far, no response had come.
“All educators who were supposed to report to school committed to go to work. I can’t guarantee whether they are all at work but they had committed,” he said. – @DubeMatutu.