Thursday, 3 March 2022

TEACHERS DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS BEGIN

GOVERNMENT has started disciplinary hearings for teachers and school heads who did not report for duty or disrupted learning activities when schools opened last month.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said the disciplinary action is part of efforts to bring back sanity and confidence in the education sector.

Schools reopened on February 7 but teachers declared that they were too incapacitated to report for duty. In some instances, it was reported that teachers reported for duty, but did not conduct lessons or sent pupils back home.

Last month, Treasury announced a 20 percent salary increase for all civil servants plus an additional US$100 cash allowance, as well as school fees allowance for teachers among other non-monetary benefits.

In a circular, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has directed all provincial education directors to charge teachers who had not reported for duty since the start of the term.

“Please take appropriate action against the members. This means that investigations should commence and where necessary misconduct charges be preferred against the members. Provinces should conduct the disciplinary actions as quickly as possible to avoid a situation where suspension orders lapse before the completion of disciplinary processes,” reads the circular.

The circular takes note that the Zimbabwe National Association of School Heads openly defied the order by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela who had directed them to submit names of teachers who had not reported for duty.

In an interview, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry’s communication and advocacy director Mr Taungana Ndoro said the disciplinary hearings are standard procedure in line with any work place.

“This is the remedial action that we have always been talking about; that when an employee or worker conducts themselves in a certain manner the intention behind will be investigated.

So, we will be investigating members who did not report for duty and this will be on a case-by-case basis. Every individual will have to state their individual circumstances as to why they were not on duty,” said Mr Ndoro.

“This is the procedure anywhere in the world where you become answerable individually on your own alleged cases of misconduct. Obviously if there are others who did not report for duty without good cause they may have to face some penalties. That is what the circular is actually saying.”

He said there were instances where teachers reported for duty but did not deliver their duties which includes conducting lessons, providing homework, marking exercises and ensuring that there is discipline within the school.

“This is part of the job description of our teachers and there is also the job description of the head or any other education official.

Anybody who joins an organisation they have a job description which they are supposed to abide by and flouting that job description may result in one having to answer as to why they had deviated from their job description,” he said.

Mr Ndoro said the ministry wants to restore confidence in the country’s education system.

 

“There might be those with valid reasons, they may be exonerated. And there are those who probably were just staying away and this is in the public domain.

We want to continue to provide quality education for our learners and also to reinstate public confidence for parents and stakeholders alike about our education delivery system,” said Mr Ndoro.

“Because if we do not take action, it is as if that may happen in subsequent terms without any action being done.

These actions are there to show that going forward we do not expect anyone not to report for duty for reasons that are not valid enough.”

Teachers’ unions have said they have taken note of the scheduled disciplinary actions and will be taking action to protect their members.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said it was their hope that teachers who had reported for duty by February 22 were not going to be charged. Chronicle

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