Teachers: Thousands more face axe

via Teachers: Thousands more face axe – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 25, 2015

THOUSANDS of teachers face the axe amid reports that government will soon embark on a head count of pupils and students at schools to wipe out ghost learners.


This came amid reports that some headmasters and other school authorities were inflating the numbers of pupils in order to get more teachers than required and to qualify for more funding.

Sources told NewsDay that the headcount would begin next month. The exercise will be similar to the head count of teachers done a few months ago where it emerged there were indeed ghost teachers.

Close to 3 000 teachers did not receive their salaries last month for various reasons, among them that they were not present at their work stations when Civil Service Commission officials visited to conduct an audit.

The government was reportedly determined to reduce surplus teachers in the event that it could be proved that there were inflated numbers of learners.

According to sources, those found to have inflated the numbers of leaners faced prosecution and dismissal.

One provincial education director (PED) who spoke on condition of anonymity said the process to tame the habit of inflating students has been on-going for now.

“We have had cases like these (inflated number of students) where you will see certain names being repeated,” the PED said. “In the event that we see this, then the ministry will charge the school head and the teacher as well. They will be charged with committing an act of misconduct. They would have lied to authorities and basing on that information, we will make wrong decisions. When we are trained as teachers, we should give accurate information.”

Satellite schools were said to be the worst hit by the scandal of ghost pupils.

According to officials, any teacher found with ghost learners will be immediately fired from the system and the school head will be prosecuted.

The government has been proposing to downsize its salary bill by removing ghost workers.

Although the government said it would not take advantage of the flawed Labour Act to terminate employment contracts of its workers basing on the Supreme Court ruling, it was determined to remove ghost workers from its payroll.

Civil Service Commission chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa could not be reached for comment, while Education minister Lazarus Dokora referred questions to the ministry’s communications officer, Patrick Zumbo.

“Talk to Zumbo and he will direct you to people who can respond to that. That is not the matter you can talk with the minister,” he said.

Zumbo said his ministry was not in the picture of the said audit.

“I will check with others in the ministry, but there are a lot of things which can be mistaken for the ministry and the employer,” he said.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said he was not yet aware of government plans.

“I cannot deny or confirm that. I’m not sure of that,” he said.

Meanwhile, reports said power utility company Zesa Holdings was in the process of sending away hundreds of workers basing on the three months’ notice.

Several Zesa employees were yesterday given letters terminating their employment amid reports that over 1 000 workers were targeted for dismissal.

Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union general-secretary Martin Chikuni confirmed that several Zesa employees had been fired.

More than 20 000 workers have lost their jobs following the Supreme Court ruling which gave employers the right to terminate employee contracts by merely giving them three months notices.