Extortion scam rocks Education ministry

HARARE - Education ministry officials have been accused of extorting money from schools by a teachers’ union.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said in a statement on Friday, education officials in Masvingo were forcing school heads to fork out money to fund the youth games and Better Schools programme.

“Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe offices have been inundated by complaints from headmasters that education officials (particularly from Masvingo) are engaged in extortion of money from schools,” reads  the statement.

“We have it on record that certain education officials (names withheld) have on many a times informed heads of schools in meetings that since teacher incentives have been banned by the ministry of education without reducing the monies paid by students, schools should use the money to pay for youth games and Better Schools programme.”

The teachers’ body said the school heads were given a due date to pay such monies. 

“The respective education officials made it clear that any school which professes inability to pay must bring its accounts books to the ministry of Education offices where a team of officials would go through the books and ascertain the status of inability,” the teachers’ body said.

PTUZ condemned the ministry of Education’s action, saying it was “callous.”

“We certainly wonder whether teacher incentives were banned in order to convert the money to youth games and the Better Schools programme. It was our understanding that the money which formerly was used to pay teacher incentives should be used for infrastructural development at schools and not youth games and the so-called Better Schools which is even illegal,” the teachers body said.

“At any rate, where are the Better Schools? Most of the so-called Better School centres are inaccessible and worse than other schools. They surely would not justify the lots of monies that have been paid since the late 1990s by schools. Money meant for Better Schools has been finding its way into private pockets and buying private properties.”

Lazarus Dokora, minister of Primary and Secondary Education, was not available for comment as his mobile was unreachable.

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