Minister summoned over crisis in schools

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Mugove Tafirenyika

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

tafirenyikam@dailynews.co.zw

PARLIAMENT has summoned Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema to appear before it next week to explain measures the government has put in place to address the crisis in the education sector.

This comes as teachers have been on a nationwide boycott of classes since schools reopened in September, demanding salary payments in United States dollars and improved working conditions.

During yesterday’s question and answer session, MDC MP for Kambuzuma Willias Madzimure called on National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda to cause Mathema to present a ministerial statement on the situation in public schools and how the government intended to go ahead with the writing of examinations when teachers have not been attending classes.

In response, Mudenda tasked Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira to convey the MPs’ demands to Mathema, who was not in the House.

“You must tell him to come and present a comprehensive ministerial statement next week, explaining the ministry’s plans regarding what is happening in the education sector,” Mudenda said.

Earlier, MDC MP for Magwegwe Anele Ndebele had taken Murwira to task over the matter, asking why the government was not postponing the public examinations.

“Doesn’t  the  insistence by the government to go ahead with the writing of the examinations when there has not been any learning taking place in public schools suggest that education is now for a few who can afford to send their children to private schools? What is the government’s policy regarding access to education?” Ndebele asked.

In response, Murwira said it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure that children were not short-changed.

But Ndebele argued that the minister had ducked the question and demanded a clearer response regarding the proposal to postpone examinations.

Murwira, however, referred the question to Mathema saying “it is technical to say whether or not a learner has been taught enough to sit an examination”.

All this comes as civil servants rejected a 20 percent salary adjustment offer tabled by the government during Tuesday’s National Joint Negotiating Council meeting in Harare.

Speaking to the Daily News after the meeting, deputy secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Confederation Public Sector Trade Unions, formerly the Apex Council, Gibson Mushangu described the government’s offer as “an insult”.

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