Storm brews over transfer of 27 teachers

HARARE - A storm is brewing in the ministry of Education following the transfer listing of 27 teachers from Harare Province’s Mbare/ Hatfield district in unclear circumstances.

The 27 teachers who claim to be members of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) are from Queen Elizabeth, Allan Wilson and Hatfield High schools.

They were last month issued with letters of transfer to other districts as Mbare/Hatfield district cannot accommodate them anymore owing to alleged overstaffing.

One of the letters by the acting district education officer, one C Musadaidzwa to the provincial education director, Harare Metropolitan Province, Edward Shumba recommending the redeployment of a senior teacher at Allan Wilson High School reads: “Innocent Kashiri is being referred to your office due to overstaffing at his current station. Please redeploy the member accordingly as Mbare district cannot accommodate as it does not have a vacant post in his area of speciality”.

Teachers who spoke on condition of anonymity over the issue have accused school heads of targeting them for transfer because they had raised concern over their alleged corrupt activities.

The teachers told the Daily News that claims of overstaffing were artificial, saying where there was a genuine case of overstaffing; the rule was that the last person to arrive at the station would be the first to be affected yet members who are over 20 years at the station have been affected.

 “If you look at the people affected you will notice that they are all senior teachers, some of whom have over 15 years at their respective stations. Take for example in my case I am the only teacher catering for students with special needs at the school yet I have been sacrificed. Does it mean there is not going to be a special class teacher when there are special students?”

The teachers also accuse their heads who claim to be war veterans, of intimidating them saying nothing would happen to them as they were appointed at the instruction of President Robert Mugabe.

PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe confirmed the development saying his organisation was scheduled to meet Education minister David Coltart over the issue.

Majongwe said the country’s education system was riddled with corruption, with school heads working in cahoots with district officials targeting PTUZ members who question their decisions for transfer.

“It is an all-out war against the PTUZ at both the school and national level where the minister is refusing to meet us. Harare is just a tip of the iceberg because there is even more chaos in rural areas.

“The overstaffing issue is a smokescreen by heads who want to get rid of senior staff members who challenge them but we are set to meet the minister over the issue very soon,” said Majongwe.

Shumba demanded that questions be sent to his office in writing.

“I have not received that report as yet but can you put your questions in black and white and leave them with the secretary at Chester House,” said Shumba. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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