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.”
GOVERNMENT has said graduates who were bonded under its phased out cadetship programme can buy themselves out of the scheme by paying the required fees to access original copies of their certificates.
Students who were under the cadetship scheme were bonded for three years with Government directing tertiary institutions to issue photocopies of certificates to enable them to search for jobs.
However, graduates intending to search for employment outside the country had challenges using the certified copies to secure employment.
In an interview yesterday, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Dr Godfrey Gandawa said bonded students can now buy themselves out of the bonding system to access their original certificates.
He said graduates can pay the fees required by their former institutions before being issued with original certificates instead of waiting for three years of bonding.
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.
GOVERNMENT has started engaging various companies and organisations so that they can accommodate students waiting for Ordinary Level results for industrial attachment.
The exercise is enshrined in the new education curriculum rolled out, full scale, at the beginning of the year
The compulsory industrial attachment programme, will see students waiting for final O’ Level results embarking on a maximum five month work-related learning practice in public and private institutions.
Under the programme Government will facilitate students to be ‘attached’ at various institutions depending on academic disciplines. The programme will also see some students acquiring driver’s licenses during the period.
Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Slyvia Utete Masango told The Sunday Mail last week that Government had begun making arrangements with organizations in Agriculture, humanitarian organisations and the private sector.
ECONET Wireless has expanded its ‘Ruzivo Smart Learning’ to secondary schools by allowing Ordinary Level pupils to access lessons via mobile phones for free.
The latest development will see Forms 3 and 4 pupils being able to access quality, convenient and affordable education via their mobile phones, tablets, laptops or any internet connected devices.
The Ruzivo service will offer six subjects —Mathematics, Geography, Integrated Science, English, Shona and Ndebele, said Econet.
The facility is a revolutionary online interactive digital learning platform with locally developed academic content including interactive lessons, exercises and tests. Access to the Ruzivo content is free, with no subscription fees or internet charges to access the learning materials using an Econet line.
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.”
ORDINARY and Advanced Level pupils will from 2018 be graded on the basis of combined marks for continuous assessment and final examinations in keeping with provisions of the updated education curriculum.
Grade Seven pupils will be subjected to the new system from 2021.
Primary and Secondary Education Secretary Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council was finalising modalities for implementing the policy.
According to the new rules, pupils who would have failed examinations will be required to supplement within two years, after which one would be forced to go back to class if failing persists.
The new education framework for O and A-Level says learners’ grades will be based on 40 percent theoretical examinations, 30 percent practical examinations and 30 percent continuous assessment.
For Grade Seven examinations, final grades will be determined by 50 percent continuous assessment and 50 percent examinations.
President Robert Mugabe’s under pressure government is facing a fresh crisis after teachers warned yesterday that they would stage a crippling strike if authorities go ahead with their plans to close more than 40 schools in Matabeleland South.
Their mass action threats come as fed up nurses have also given the government notice that they will soon start toyi-toying to press for improved working conditions and the dismissal of the Health Services Board (HSB) secretariat, which they accuse of failing to act on their long-standing grievances.
Various teachers’ representatives told the Daily News yesterday that they had already put in motion the process of mobilising their members, civic groups and community leaders to confront the government over the school closure debacle.
This comes after the government announced last week that it was planning to shut down 40 schools in Matabeleland South — on account of low pupil and student enrolments.
A fuming Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, did not mince his words yesterday, telling the Daily News that they would go on strike if the government went ahead with their plans.
THE Government has availed $9 million for the implementation of the new education curriculum, with teachers being urged to take a leading role in the utilisation of the fund.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora said teachers should apply for materials that they need to implement the new curriculum.
The new curriculum was introduced at the beginning of the year and transitional classes: Early Childhood Development A, Grade One, Grade Three, Form One, Form Three and Lower Six are implementing the curriculum.
He said teachers will account for the materials they order and school heads should not interfere with their programmes. Dr Dokora warned schools against violating intellectual property through photocopying textbooks. The Minister said even school headmasters seem to be unaware that the practice undertaken in the name of cutting costs was illegal.
The introduction of the new curriculum is a product of recommendations made by the Nziramasanga Commission.
Government is set to build 17 world class secondary schools to match its internationally-acclaimed education system, Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Professor Paul Mavhima has said.
These schools are part of Government’s short term plan which will see the construction of more than 2 000 world class schools across Zimbabwe.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora said recently that Zimbabwe needs at least 2 056 institutions.
Addressing villagers attending the commissioning of the Mutoko East Constituency Yeukai Foundation in Mashonaland East on Saturday, Professor Mavhima said two of the schools are nearing completion in Hatcliffe, Harare and Lupane in Matabeleland North.
Professor Mavhima said: “These schools would be built to match international standards with state-of-the-art buildings, teachers’ houses, classroom blocks, laboratories including sporting and other facilities.”
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.
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.