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My hands are tied: Dokora on 3000 teachers struck off payroll

By Bridget Mananavire

HARARE – The ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s hands are tied in the case involving over 3 000 teachers who did not receive their July salaries, the responsible minister Lazarus Dokora has said.

Lazarus Dokora
Lazarus Dokora

Dokora said it was up to the employer to solve the issue of teachers who were struck off the payroll after a head count failed to locate them at their work stations.

“Well, the question of salaries is a dialogue you engage with the employer (Civil Service Commission) isn’t it?”

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“They are deployed to work in my ministry but they have an employer,” Dokora said adding that the ministry had an on-going engagement with the commission after being quizzed on whether the ministry was not going engage the employer.

Dokora was responding to questions at the ministry’s head office in Harare last week after presenting a statement on developing the Primary and Secondary Sector Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

This comes as teachers’ unions are struggling to come to an agreement with the commission on how to proceed on the matter, with fears that the purge on teachers might intensify.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should be able to intervene as it was the one being affected.

“Ordinarily yes, the minister should be able to help in this matter, it’s his line ministry that was affected, he must be able to say ‘these are bona fide teachers can you not do something’.

“This matter should have been treated with urgency. The best we can do is to engage government (the commission) through the apex council, but the council is dragging its feet.

“We have written a letter, we should have held a meeting the day we learnt teachers had not been paid. It’s likely to intensify because on Wednesday (last week), the commission went around conducting another audit, checking the staff log books,” Majongwe said.

The head count was supposed to audit the workforce of the civil service to remove ghost workers from the payroll, but it came out that most of the teachers and staff that did not get their salaries had gone on official leave or were off.

Government is in a drive to reduce the wage bill which gobbles up at least 82 percent of the total budget.

Meanwhile, Dokora said part of the 2016-2020 education strategic plan included improving the quality of teachers.

“We have now started to focus on the environmental factors that impede on learning, the infrastructure, the quality of teachers; these are examples of areas that need improving.

“The 2016-2020 education plan is the bedrock of the implementation of the envisaged curriculum 2016-2022 which has been designed to meet the needs of each individual leaner’s capacities,” Dokora said.

He added that the consultations, together with the sector analysis and the sector review were a key process that will identify the key priorities that needed to be the focus of service delivery in the strategic plan. Daily News