Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has said teachers who have been absconding from work risk losing their monthly salaries as Government moves to enforce the principle of “No work no pay.”
The number of teachers reporting for duty has decreased since schools reopened last month as they are citing incapacitation.
According to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the situation is more pronounced in Bulawayo and Harare as some teachers elsewhere have ignored the call for strike by their unions.
In Bulawayo, only 50 percent of teachers have turned up for duty with pupil attendance pegged at 68 percent.
Speaking during a Covid-19 Taskforce meeting in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Provincial Deputy Education Director Mr Thabani Sibanda said as of last Friday, the ministry sampled 75 schools for teacher and learner attendance.
From that sampling, statistics showed that the teacher attendance drastically dropped due to incapacitation notices forwarded to schools, districts and the province.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has since asked school authorities to compile attendance registers saying there will be consequences for those who are not attending lessons.
In a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government is worried about absenteeism of teachers.
She also noted that some of teachers were reporting for duty but not teaching.
“Cabinet was informed that the number of teachers reporting for duty had decreased. It is further noted that some of those reporting for duty are not teaching,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
The minister said avenues were open for disgruntled teachers to engage their employer under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).
She said teachers who are not reporting for work will not be paid as Government enforces the no work, no pay policy.
“Cabinet wishes to reiterate that negotiations for improved conditions of service remain open under the National Joint Negotiating Council and that the no work, no pay policy will be strictly enforced,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said Cabinet also noted that the strong Covid-19 surveillance system that Government put in place has enabled the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to detect outbreaks early.
“Cabinet was informed that on 16th April 2021 more outbreaks were reported at two boarding schools, namely St David’s Bonda Girls School in Manicaland and Embakwe High School in Plumtree. One hundred and forty-five and 91 learners tested positive, respectively,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said the situation is under control with all the cases being mild and asymptomatic. The Ministry of Health and Child Care is testing and vaccinating members in the adjoining communities where the schools are located.
“All those found positive have been quarantined. The Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education; and Health and Child Care have intensified enforcement of the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in all schools and those found violating the preventive health measures will be sanctioned,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
On the issue of the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination programme which is being rolled out across the country, Minister Mutsvangwa said a total of 288 229 people received their first doses while 36 778 got the second jab.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is carrying out vaccination campaigns all over the country with President Mnangagwa set to receive his second dose today at Kwekwe General Hospital.
The President received his first dose in the resort city of Victoria Falls where he launched the Second Phase of the national vaccination programme last month.
“The nation is advised that His Excellency the President will be receiving his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow (today) at Kwekwe General Hospital. Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that citizens can receive their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccines anywhere in the country without prejudice,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said the vaccination of residents in border towns has been prioritised and is well on course.
Government also approved the final Ministerial Action Plan that is compliant with the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025), which was presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Frederick Shava.
The ministry’s mission is to promote the political and socio-economic interests, the image and influence of Zimbabwe in the international community. It also seeks to protect the interests and safety of the Zimbabwean diaspora.
The deliverables of the Plan include the appointment of eight honorary consuls during the five-year period; establishment of 25 new export markets and facilitating 100 trade investment missions.
It also seeks to improve international relations through such undertakings as signing of 150 co-operation agreements and twenty-six Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs).
“The country’s image will be improved through the planned 650 public diplomacy and visibility initiatives both locally and internationally, including press releases, holding regular briefings with diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and delivering lectures at universities and other key national institutions,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“In line with the decentralisation and devolution thrust, the Ministry is in the process of establishing two provincial offices in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.” — @mashnets