Sunday, 3 November 2019

MINISTER CONCERNED ABOUT TEACHER ABSENTEEISM


GOVERNMENT is concerned about the high rate of teacher absenteeism in schools as this is contributing to poor pass rates and negating the country’s vision to uplift every citizen through education.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, speaking at the 2019 pre-budget seminar here, said he had been studying the trend for some time.

He said he had noted that most teachers are not in school due to among other reasons, poor remuneration, poor working conditions and infrastructure.
Similarly, Government is concerned about some schools that withhold results of pupils who owe them school fees as it disadvantages learners from advancing with their education.

“There is an issue that I have been studying for a long time, the issue of teacher absenteeism. It is not easy to fix but we have to deal with it either through incentives or improving conditions of service and building of schools,” said Prof Ncube.

 He implored parents to be involved in school activities.

“For example, Matabeleland South has 250 schools where pupils are not passing their Ordinary Levels. There are many such schools countrywide. Whenever parents are not involved in the activities of the school, those schools perform worse,” he said. 

In some provinces such as Matabeleland South, teachers cross the border to neighbouring countries to do menial jobs to supplement low salaries.

Prof Ncube said the 2020 budget will surely allocate resources towards infrastructure and schools’ development to improve working conditions for various sectors in the public service including education.

School drop-outs are also prevalent, said Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo also speaking at the same occasion.

He said this, compounded by a tendency by schools to withhold results of learners who owe fees negates Government efforts towards achieving universal education.

“There is a high prevalence of school drop-outs due to pregnancy where only 67 percent of Form Four girls proceed with their education while others drop out due to pregnancy. We are hoping that formalising the Children’s Act, whose draft has been discussed by taskforce and awaits passing to Parliament, will help address these issues.

“I have also noted your concerns about schools that are withholding results for non payment of fees. Withholding results is illegal because the fees contract is between the school and parent and not the pupil. If a school withholds results bring this to the attention of the Ministry as that is an act of misconduct and disciplinary action will be taken,” said Dep Minister Moyo. Chronicle

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