PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora has come under fire from teachers’ unions for reportedly “resorting to military tactics” in dealing with educators.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said Dokora had threatened to fire school heads who were not delivering quality results.
“The idea of threats, attacks, blunders and orders is not synonymous with education. It is found in the military and Dokora wants to bring this into the education sector. We will not accept it. Teachers are working under atrocious conditions with children suffering, especially this winter and we have a minister who is preoccupied with sabre-rattling,” Majongwe told NewsDay.
Recently, Dokora issued a stark warning to non-performers and teachers with little appreciation of the new curriculum. Majongwe’s sentiments were echoed by Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union spokesperson Tapson Nganunu-Sibanda, who urged a sober approach to issues affecting education.
Zimbabwe Rural Teachers’ Union leader Obert Masaraure was more scathing in his response to Dokora.
“Rule by force is the preserve of the inept who have no skills to motivate their subordinates boldly towards goal attainment. Dokora has monumentally failed and is tragically transforming our education system into a circus,” Masaraure said. “The only person who should be fired for incompetence is Dokora because the same teachers he is accusing of failing performed well under successive ministers before him.”
ABOUT 16 000 trained teachers are jobless, with universities and colleges unloading 2 000 more every year, Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora has said.
Government, at the beginning of this term, set a target of recruiting 2 300 teachers, but nothing has happened yet.
Dokora blamed what he described as “incoherence” between the Finance and Public Service ministries for the hold-up in recruitment.
“I needed 7 000 teachers last year, but by the decision of the Cabinet, I was told that I was going to get 2 300 teachers,” he told Kwekwe school headmasters and school development committee (SDC) chairpersons last week at Loreto High School.
“We are still waiting for the clearance from the Public Service. The challenge is that there is an incoherence between Public Service and the Finance ministries.” Dokora said the recruitment of teachers is going to be based on specialised areas to push the new curriculum.
All primary school learners will now benefit from the National Schools Feeding Programme on the back of improved grain and cereal output from summer cropping.
Initially, the programme only targeted 1, 5 million early childhood learners and Grades 1 and 2 pupils, but now includes Grades 3 to 7. The multi-million-dollar initiative aims to improve nutrition and avert school drop-outs occasioned by hunger.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora told The Sunday Mail, “We have expanded the National Schools Feeding Programme; so every child at primary education level is now being taken care of under the scheme. Every child will be on the scheme by January 2018. “Ongoing borehole drilling and setting up of drip irrigation schemes at every secondary school will ensure learning institutions will not outsource products used for the programme.”
THE Government is set to launch an education television channel in line with the new education curriculum.
This comes as the country is implementing the digitalisation programme which we see an increase in the number of television stations countrywide.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora last Friday said the channel will be a platform to tell the Zimbabwean story. Dr Dokora said his Ministry was ready to support content producers.
He said presently children were being bombarded with television content with storylines that they cannot relate to.
He said already there are publishers who are ready to take up the challenge to create content that takes into account the country’s heritage. Dr Dokora said some people were still suffering from an inferiority complex and do not believe that local publishers can tell the local narrative.
President Mugabe has dispatched Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko to Russia to engage President Vladmir Putin on further economic co-operation between Harare and Moscow.
VP Mphoko will meet the Russian leader on the sidelines of the 21st St Petersburg International Economic Forum which is running from June 1 to 3.
Possible areas of discussion are mining, commerce, agriculture, health and others which Presidents Mugabe and Putin explored in Moscow in 2015.
Apart from the high-level engagement, the VP is expected to make a global pitch for Zimbabwe’s investment opportunities in his keynote speech at the Forum.
He is travelling with Ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development), Dr Mike Bimha (Industry and Commerce) and Walter Chidhakwa (Mines and Mining Development).
A Bulawayo kombi driver who slapped a passenger for vomiting in his kombi resulting in the victim falling and hitting his head against the tarmac causing his death six days later, was yesterday convicted of culpable homicide.
Donmore Simende (36) assaulted Mr Rodney Siwela (28) at a commuter buses terminus in the city resulting in his death six days later.
A court heard that Simende slapped Mr Siwela once and he fell and hit his head against the tarmac.
Mr Siwela spent a night lying unconscious at the terminus and he was only rushed by an ambulance to United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) the following morning. Mr Siwela who was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), died six days later.
Simende who pleaded not guilty was however convicted by Mr Crispen Mberewere. He was remanded in custody to Monday for sentencing.
“You have been found guilty of culpable homicide not murder because it wasn’t your intention to kill. You however neglected the deceased person and this caused his death. You have been found guilty of neglecting the now deceased leading to his death. You should have rushed the deceased to hospital when you realised that he had been injured following the assault,” he said.
THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Lazarus Dokora has said his Ministry will wield the axe on headmasters whose schools have recorded zero percent pass rates in public examinations.
In an interview on the side-lines of the commissioning of a Form Three classroom block and the donation of 22 000 books worth $10 000 to Sarah Bata Senior School in Gweru yesterday, Dr Dokora said Government does not employ people to underperform.
The Minister also said those who have been abusing school funds would be dealt with.
Dr Dokora said headmasters involved in maladministration and embezzlement of school funds also risk being fired.
PUBLIC transporters have blasted the Bulawayo City Council for allegedly favouring the Bulawayo’s Public Transporters Association (Bupta) in allocating routes under the city’s newly formulated public transport policy.
The dispute is threatening the May 24 launch of the policy that also seeks to eliminate individual ownership of kombis in the city. Under the policy, stakeholders have proposed to charge school children and college students half fare
Transporters will have to join one of three associations – Bupta, Tshova Mubaiwa Co-operative (TMC) or Bulawayo City Transit Trust (BCTT). Each of the operators was allocated specific routes to avoid speeding and fighting for customers.
However, chairperson of Tshova Mubaiwa Mr Samson Mabunde complained that their company was given a small area to operate where there are fewer customers compared to Bupta which was given more routes.
BCC senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said Bupta and Tshova Mubaiwa met and allocated each other the areas where they wished to operate but they have a meeting scheduled for May 16 concerning the transport policy
South African power utility, Eskom, has given Zesa Holdings until the end of this month to clear its debt of $43 million, failure of which it threatens to cut 300 megawatts from the amount it is supplying Zimbabwe per day, raising fears of load-shedding.
Zimbabwe consumes more than 1 400 megawatts per day and a cut of 300 megawatts would have a damaging impact on industry and winter wheat cropping under way.
Zesa Holdings has managed to pay off Eskom $46 million, leaving a balance of $43 million. The power utility also owes Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique $40 million. Eskom wrote to Zesa stating that “no further lenience or accommodation” would be given to Zimbabwe with effect from June 1 with regards to the outstanding debt.
Zesa earlier this year made payment plans with regional power utilities, but foreign currency shortages have seen it defaulting.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora continues to divide opinion. Considered a reformer on one side of the aisle, he is also seen – in almost equal measure – as an inept public official with a flair for controversy and the unconventional by his critics.
His recent explanation that hard-pressed parents can use livestock or labour in lieu of school fees has sent tongues wagging. A qualified communications expert, Dr Dokora has been caricatured as “Dr Dofora” by some, and hailed as a burst of positive energy by others.
On the issue of livestock and school fees, he told The Sunday Mail: “We are creating markets for our people so that they can sell whatever they have without prejudice. “The items they can sell range from tomatoes, chicken, goats and other livestock.
“We are actually talking to my Rural Development counterpart, Minister Abednigo Ncube, to ensure rural district councils play a leading role to attract buyers.
“These are the public-private partnerships that we are talking about. All those women who go to Harare or Bindura are looking for markets to sell their produce in order to raise their children’s tuition fees. “So, we are giving them the markets wherever they are.
“Most of the people who are criticising this noble initiative do not even have a chicken!” Innovations such as new learning areas, foreign languages, life orientation skills and continuous assessment for pupils are widely viewed as game-changers in a country whose education system has been described in some circles as “advanced, but too academic”.
While the jury is still out on Dr Dokora’s performance, Zimbabwe will have an entirely new education system come 2021.
Popular movie joint Ster Kinekor Westgate theatres has closed doors with immediate effect amid revelation that their contract with the complex has expired. Just after Ster Kinekor theatres chief executive Wanda Matandela announced the latest development on Wednesday night movie fans registered their displeasure at the development.
“While, it is unfortunate that the Ster Kinekor complex at Westgate will close at the end of April. Cinema goers in Harare can still catch all the latest blockbusters that are released on the big screen at our other two popular venues in the city, at eastgate mall and sam levy village” read the announcement.
South African rapper K.O popularly known as MR Cash Time says he is ready to shutdown the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair weekend.
K.O is expected to arrive in Bulawayo tomorrow for his performance at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre. He will be joined by Winky D, Cal Vin, DJ Liz, Garry B and The Godfather Templeman at a show dubbed Best of both worlds.
The Skhanda republic head said he was upbeat about performing in Bulawayo after five years. “I’m excited to be performing in Bulawayo. The last time I was there was five years ago with Teargas and what I remember most is that the energy was insane.
“I’m not expecting anything different. Last year when I was in Harare, it was incredible and Bulawayo will be just as crazy,” said K.O. He said for the first time, he would perform with a live band.
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