Mugabe cabinet delay hits education

via Mugabe cabinet delay hits education by NewZimbabwe Staff Reporter

TEACHERS’ unions say delays in appointing a cabinet by President Robert Mugabe has led to paralysis in the education sector after schools opened last week without enough teachers.

Unions are angry with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) whose directives to provincial education officers on temporary teacher recruitment have caused confusion countrywide.

And the teachers’ representatives say without a minister in charge following the dissolution of government on August 22 when President Mugabe was inaugurated, they have found it increasingly difficult to get clarity.

Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, said: “It is worrying that some of these instructions are done in a mysterious manner because we don’t know who is giving them.

“The Cabinet is not yet in place so that we have a specific person to deal with this issue.”

The CSC is a creation of the country’s new constitution adopted in May, and is a successor organisation to the Public Service Commission (PSC) which was responsible for the employment of public sector workers.

Unions feel the change-over has resulted in a communication breakdown which only a minister could resolve.

Said Majongwe: “This scenario [absence of a minister] has created challenges because we now have areas that still do not have teachers. Remote areas like Binga and Jotsholo are having problems yet there were people who were recruited there.

“We have not found any joy since the CSC took over and we’re not clear as to who is implementing directives issued from there. Schools have not even been given a circular but we just see things happening without clarity.”

The CSC issued a directive last month freezing all new public sector appointments – in the process disempowering provincial education officers from recruiting temporary teachers.

A second directive specifically for the education sector said priority should be given to college and university graduates with teaching and non-teaching diplomas and degrees, retired personnel and returning teachers aged below 50. O’ and A Level holders came last.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union (ZIMTA) CEO Sifiso Ndlovu said: “Generally, there is a blackout in communication regarding this issue. We are getting lots of concerns but the commission has not communicated anything to anyone since it took over.

“It seems the CSC is not in tune with the modern developments on the importance of communicating with stakeholders. We expect them to brief stakeholders on what is happening since they took over but they have not done anything. We feel this is a display of arrogance.

“They should have engaged all the concerned people but it seems they do not want that. If this is how they would conduct themselves then that is a false start.”

Mugabe was expected to name a Cabinet last week but he has kept the nation waiting just 10- days short of a month since he was sworn in for a new five-year term.

David Coltart is the outgoing Education Minister.