via MPs gang up on education minister 26 August 2014
EDUCATION Minister Lazarus Dokora came under a barrage of attacks from MPs in parliament on Tuesday for stopping the payment of incentives to teachers and banning extra-lessons in public schools.
Dokora banned extra lessons late last year claiming he was cushioning hard-pressed parents from unscrupulous school authorities who were demanding huge amounts of money.
He also banned entrance tests for Form One students.
MDC-T MP Settlement Chikwinya however said Dokora risked reversing the gains made by the government since independence by pursuing “unwise policies” in the education sector.
Teachers are among the lowest paid of the country’s civil servants.
To compensate for the poor pay, some schools had introduced incentives in the form of more pay to encourage the teachers.
But Dokora last year banned the incentives. He also outlawed extra-lessons in public schools.
“We suspect that he is doing this because he does not have children attending schools at these public schools, if he has, we call upon him to come to this House and prove that he has,” Chikwinya said.
“Headmasters who met in Victoria Falls resolved that they would want to meet the president (Robert Mugabe) and air their grievances. This shows the level of frustration that they have gone through at the hands of the current minister.”
The MPs said Dokora’s biggest handicap was his failure to consult widely before making policy pronouncements.
“He is trying to reinvent the wheel and in some cases trying to remove the wheel in total, Mr Speaker. This should not be allowed in our education sector,” Chikwinya said.
Chikwinya said Dokora must be summoned to Parliament and “show that all the decisions he is making are with the interest of our children at heart because I suspect that he does not have a child attending any of the schools affected by his decisions and policy interventions”.
“We know that most of the ministers’ children are attending private schools hence they do not worry what happens or the impact of their policies on the public who use government schools,” Chikwinya said.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP, James Maridadi said Dokora was the direct opposite of Zimbabwe’s first education minister, Dzingai Mtumbuka, whom he said consulted widely leading the country to have the highest literacy rate in Africa.
Joseph Chinotimba, a Zanu PF MP also added his voice saying Dokora should revisit some of his policies although he did not come hard on him like his colleagues in the MDC-T.
“I come from the workers and I will not support an employer who oppresses the worker,” he said.