PTUZ petitions government over harassment of teachers
THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has petitioned the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to compel it to resolve alleged teacher abuse and harassment by Public Service Commission (PSC) officials.
PTUZ is arguing that teachers were being transferred willy-nilly and that even school heads were being harassed by the PSC officials.
The Financial Gazette is in possession of a circular issued by the PSC dated August 28, 2015 sent to school heads in one district in Harare.
“As heads of stations therefore you are requested to ensure that teachers are at the stations conducting their professional duties daily. Ensure that the official teaching and working hours (0745hrs to 1600hrs) are observed,” reads part of the circular.
“In light of the above, please observe the following to guide you: Ensure that schools are manned as per policy; teaching and learning is effectively conducted daily; attendance for work is 100 percent; the check in and out register is up to date; both teaching and non-teaching staff (civil service members) report for work daily; registers are up to date and easily accessible,” further reads the circular.
PTUZ said it was worried by the developments and wanted action.
“After watching the PSC trail of destruction since April, we are convinced that it’s time to put a stop to it. We are worried that the reports we are getting are pointing to an agenda of destroying the teacher movement once and for all. School heads are being harassed, teachers are being unilaterally transferred, some are being threatened, kangaroo hearings are being conducted – the list is endless. We believe it’s time to stop it,” PTUZ said in a statement.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe confirmed that the harassment of teachers.
“We are equally disappointed that this is going on unabated at a critical time of the year when students should be going on with lessons uninterrupted. But this is not the case because the teachers are in and out of the classroom as they are continuously being disturbed by PSC and ministry officials,” Majongwe said.
Majongwe also highlighted that since the start of the term, morale in many schools had hit an all time low because of stringent measures put in place to control teachers.
“Some of our members cannot easily go out to collect their salaries. One has to explain where he is going, what time he is coming back but it has not always been like that. This has adversely affected the operations of teachers in the country,” he said.
“We have since written to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education demanding answers, and to the commission demanding an urgent meeting. We have also written to the APEX council to call for an emergency meeting. If all this fails to yield results we will call for a go slow very soon,” PTUZ said in its statement.
However, APEX council team leader Richard Gundane told the Financial Gazette that his office would be more than willing to enter into dialogue with the union to map the way forward.
“I am yet to receive the letter but I think it is an issue of paramount importance if it is really happening. It’s a matter that needs to be rectified urgently. In the meantime we will wait for the letter then act accordingly after receiving it. PTUZ is part of us and we will collaborate with them to ensure that the issue is resolved amicably,” said Gundane.
Teachers who constitute the bulk of the civil service appear to be under fire from a government that is determined to flush out ghost workers from the civil service and reduce its ballooning wage bill.
The onslaught on teachers comes hard on the heels of cases of over 3 000 teachers’ salaries being frozen for the past three months because they were alleged to be ghost workers after they were found absent from their work stations during an audit.