Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating schools that are demanding payment in foreign currency for extra lessons amid reports that some teachers at six schools that have received payment have been ordered to reimburse the parents or guardians.
The anti-corruption watchdog is also pushing for the gazetting of a statutory instrument that criminalises conducting extra lessons for a fee.
Zacc Ethics and Public Education manager Dr Munyaradzi Magiga revealed this in an interview yesterday in Bulawayo on the sidelines of the national anti-corruption strategy validation workshop.
He said charging in forex for extra lessons has become a nationwide problem.
Dr Magiga said the commission had dealt with some cases in Harare that involved teachers who were demanding forex for extra lessons and ordered the teachers to reimburse the parents.
“We have received many reports, some coming through the media, our website as well as individuals coming to our offices. They have been complaining that teachers are charging in forex for extra lessons.
What the teachers are doing is that they charge at least US$12 a month per pupil. At some schools 70 percent of the money goes to the teacher and 30 percent to the administration,” he said.
Dr Magiga said charging forex for extra lessons is illegal because in Zimbabwe the education system is not paid for in forex.
“We have, working together with the provincial education director and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, ordered teachers from six schools in Harare to reimburse parents who have been paying forex for extra lessons.
“We have directed the school authorities to ensure parents sign documents confirming that they have been reimbursed their money,” he said.
Dr Magiga said if the teachers fail to comply with the order, they will be prosecuted.
He said Government is now working on a statutory instrument that would criminalise teaching of extra lessons for a fee.
“We are working with the education ministry to ensure the Statutory Instrument that makes it illegal to charge a fee for extra lessons is in place. Conducting extra lessons was declared illegal in 2017 and this Statutory Instrument we are working on will make it easier for us as the investigators to assist the ministry,” said Dr Magiga.
He said demanding forex was making education inaccessible to the poor.
“This is actually nationwide problem and we are planning a nation-wide campaign to educate parents and guardians to guard against being fleeced by teachers demanding payment for extra lesson.
We cannot create bottlenecks in the education system that is supposed to benefit everybody. We want to go back to the basics and make sure that nobody increases the costs of education,” he said.
In an interview, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo said the ministry has received several reports of teachers demanding forex for extra lessons and that is illegal.
He said extra lessons should only be done for free as a catch-up mechanism for classes that are behind in covering their syllabi.
“What is worrying now is that it seems teachers are not teaching during their normal working hours. They seem to deliberately delay covering the syllabi so that they have an excuse to conduct extra lessons for a fee. That should stop forthwith. Everyone is facing challenges, its not just the teachers and they should abide by the law,” he said.
Deputy Minister Moyo said the Ministry will use already existing statutes to charge teachers found violating their code of conduct. — @nqotshili