Parents demand school head’s removal Mr Taungana Ndoro

Mkhululi Ncube, [email protected]

LEARNING has been stopped at Mkaya Primary School in Mangwe District, Matabeleland South Province, where disgruntled parents are demanding the removal of the school head over several grievances.

Last month, parents wrote to the Public Service Commission (PSC) seeking the transfer of the school head, Ms Clemencia Sibanda, whom they accuse of alleged gross financial mismanagement, poor pass rates and disrespect toward community members.

Parents claimed they were not being given receipts for payment of fees after the school bursar left the learning institution without issuing them.

There is also concern over the lack of accountability with money paid by churches that rent the school premises for their functions.

Parents further accuse the school head of failure to improve pass rates, which they say is a trend that destroys the future of their children.

Despite having qualified teachers, the Grade Seven examination pass rate for 2023 is a mere 11,11 percent, way below the national average of 45,57 percent.

The parents accuse Ms Sibanda of lacking respect for them after she allegedly referred to them as “dogs that bark but do not bite”.

The School Development Committee (SDC) vice chairperson, Mr Figlas Moyo yesterday said parents were adamant that Ms Sibanda must leave their area as their relationship has irrevocable broken down.

He said Headman Zibuyeni yesterday summoned SDC members, some parents and teachers and invited the school head to try and map the way forward, but Ms Sibanda could not make it.

“Since Monday, there is no learning taking place at the school as parents have withdrawn their children. They said the school will be under lockdown until their demands to remove the school head are met,” said Mr Moyo. 

“Headman Zibuyeni urged parents to send their children to school while the issue is being attended to, but the parents did not budge,” he added. 

Contacted for comment, Headman Zibuyeni (Mr Misheck Ncube) confirmed the development and called for calm saying he would forward the matter to Chief Tshitshi as the future of children is now being affected.

“I tried to reason with the parents not to use children in this dispute. If they want the head removed they should not do so at the expense of the children who are losing learning time,” he said.

“Learners must continue with their classes while deliberations for a solution are found. But the parents did not take my advice and the meeting became tense and disorderly as they did not want to take my views. The teachers also appealed but it all fell on deaf ears. So, I will take the matter to Chief Tshitshi.”

Primary and Secondary Education Ministry spokesperson, Mr Taunguna Ndoro, could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, last week he urged parents at the school to give the ministry a chance to solve the matter.

“I want to assure you that we are looking into this issue thoroughly and will be addressing it with the utmost care and diligence,” he said last week. 

“While parents do have a right to advocate for improvements in their children’s schooling, the process for removing a sitting school head is a complex one that involves multiple stakeholders. Our ministry’s stance is that removing a school head should only be done as a last resort when all other avenues for school improvement and support have been exhausted.” 

Mr Ndoro said the ministry’s goal was to empower the present leadership to turn the school around, rather than resorting to abrupt changes. 

“However, if these efforts do not yield the necessary improvements over a reasonable timeframe, then we would certainly consider the parents’ petition and work to determine whether a change in school leadership is warranted,” he said. 

“Ultimately, our duty is to the pupils and we will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure they receive the quality education they deserve.”  — @themkhust



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