“Lazarus Dokora out of touch with his ministry’

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A PARLIAMENTARY debate on the state of education in the country last week exposed Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora as not well-versed with what is happening in his ministry.

VENERANDA LANGA

Senators had demanded to know from Dokora why schoolchildren were continuously chased away for non-payment of fees when government issued a circular to say no child should be excluded for that reason.

But Dokora told the Senate in situations where parents were genuinely incapable of paying fees, their children should be covered by the government’s Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) scheme.

This is despite the fact that the scheme has virtually collapsed due to poor government funding and pupils under the programme were being chased away from school.

“For those children whose parents cannot afford to pay school fees, they are covered by Beam. However, for any child to be covered by Beam, it means that they have to be at school so that the adjudication committee can recognise them,” said Dokora.

He added: “A guardian is supposed to pay fees as stipulated by the Constitution and what should happen is that if parents fail to pay those fees, they should approach headmasters to negotiate a payment plan.”

In January this year, principal director of Social Welfare Sydney Mhishi told Parliament that 900 000 children under Beam might find themselves out of school due to lack of funding.

He said the department needed $28 million, but was only allocated a meagre $15 million from the 2014 National Budget.

The money was enough to pay for 83 000 children only, meaning that the rest are not attending school although the country’s Constitution stipulates that every child in Zimbabwe should have access to education.

In their initial bid for the 2014 budget allocation, the Social Welfare department had requested for $73 million to cover children’s fees under Beam.

The senators also said some children were being victimised for non-payment of fees while some parents were being arraigned before traditional courts in rural areas to force them to pay money they owed as schools fees for their children.

Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava (MDC-T) demanded to know from Dokora if it was right for parents to be dragged before traditional chiefs when education was a human rights issue.

Dokora, however, said if the allegations were true, then he would respect the decisions of the traditional courts.

“We respect all courts even those in rural areas that are presided over by chiefs, and if the chiefs are helping schools to recover amounts owed in school fees, then it is a good move,” Dokora said.

In the Lower House, MPs also quizzed Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Paul Mavima about the issue of school fees vis-a-vis the children’s right to education.

Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) said some teachers had developed new systems to deal with non-payment of fees whereby children whose fees were not paid were nowadays not sent back home but ordered to spend the day playing on the playground.

Other pupils were being ordered to face opposite the chalkboard so that they would not benefit from lessons like those whose fees were fully paid.

“Those who have not paid anything spend the whole day singing or playing games outside whilst those who paid are with the teacher learning,” said Mutseyami. “At some schools those who have not paid are ordered to face opposite the board, and therefore, we need to be serious when we talk about non-payment of fees and not send children who did not pay away from school.”

Bulawayo East MP Thabita Khumalo (MDC-T) said failure by government to pay civil servants’ salaries on their usual pay dates was affecting payment of fees for their children.

Like his boss, Mavima said no child should be sent away adding those with evidence of a school which was excluding students for non-payment should report to the Education ministry.

33 COMMENTS

  1. The cost of political intolerance, pride & empty rhetoric has finally come to devour the present & future of our own children. Such heartless cruelty to the young & innocent sure brings a tear to the eye

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  2. Education by 2010 so what is happening these are empty promises from our leaders,then there are Private schools whereby they operate through payment of fees from parents by not doing so they will suffer a permanent poverty i mean the workers can the Grvment make a plan for the Independent Colleges to survive bcoz they offer Academic Education.

    Thank you Minister.

  3. Chakachaya. This is clear evidence of this regime’s failure. We’re trying as concerned parents to raise school fees but the economy is drying up. We’re being retrenched but we’re expected to raise money for the children’s upkeep and their fees. Fees will be paid when zanu creates the 2 million jobs they promised the electorate or when they bring back the zim$. Zanu marwadzo vakomana.

  4. Such Ministers like Dokora make life unbearable for the Zimbabwe people and I wish whoever selects tham for higher office would relook at this as they are even harmful to their parties.

    • Is he not the same guy who said primary education should be extended to Grade 10. By the way where is that Ministry of Perambulation that the political reject Hungwe is supposed to be heading.

  5. if there is a minister who is trying to prove he is good while he is so dull is minister dokora. i am not sure why this guy does not swallow his pride and ask a guy like corltart how it is done. anyway mugabe has always chosen mad people into this ministry. a few have been good.

  6. Screaming headlines of no substance. That is what the out of touch press is serving daily. Please lead the evidence that Dokora is out of touch with his Ministry. Where is the Ministry policy position or operational reality that Dokora has glossed over. The article goes on to state that the Deputy Minister is on message with the Minister. It may well be that the author is in touch with officials or parents or both who are guilty of dereliction of duty and would want the Minister to remain blind to it. It is time for every citizen to take stock and grow beyond selfish exploitation of collective resources. Parents seeking free education, teachers wanting to live like corporate moguls and civil servants in that Ministry in particular not putting in an honest day’s work. Take on these miscreants please Dokora!

    • Nhai iwe Kawipei wakambodzidziswa nzwisiso here kuchikoro. Inga zviri pachena kuti Minister varikuti vana vanobetserwa ne BEAM asi kuBEAM kwacho hakuna mari. PAne kumwe kurasika kunokunda ipapo here nhai iwe Kwaipei – nzwisisa mhani Nxaaaaaa

  7. I wonder if Mr Dokora ever reads the comments made by people. Dokora is a former teacher and his model of running education affairs like a headmaster should stop. Education is the window to the future. You wonder why he is so concerned about how teachers already in the ministry should have maths or english. Mr Dokora change the curricillum we need curriculum for doctors, engineers, administrators not to look at an already done professional. As an english specialist teacher what do l need maths for. A primary school teacher what maths for? Can l fail 10 groups of 5. Improve methodologies of teachers and approaches to a particular subject. Design curricular for specialist professionals. Teachers should simply go for workshops. What is your argument when l trained as a teacher in 1998 There were no computers but l a veteran in this field, l am helping many many children without a computer course. Then you waffle this utter rubbish. Never a colony again

  8. I’ve heard the Minister speak many a time and have concluded that he concentrates more on the tone of his voice at the expense of facts. Just listen to him speak he is no better than a junior 3 from Netttleton Primary explaining the whereabouts of the missing flight MH370.

  9. Sydney Mhishi told Parliament that 900 000 children under Beam might find themselves out of school due to lack of funding.

    He said the department needed $28 million, but was only allocated a meagre $15 million from the 2014 National Budget.

    The money was enough to pay for 83 000 children only, meaning that the rest are not attending school .

    FROM THIS STATEMENT MHISHI IMBAVHA $15 MILLION IS SUPPOSED TO CATER FOR 500 000 BEAM KIDS

    • Inoperera kuma hofisi mari yacho. Some BEAM kids are not deserving because they come from well to do families but vanti’ ah ngatiitewo zve mahara’ and ndivo vanowana futi.

  10. Parents must pay fees and schools must not expel students because that student will still pay anyway so if he misses class not because of his faulty but hardships faced by his parent it will not be fair. The idea of chiefs hunting down defaulters is good as long as it does not affect the child. Dokora’s stance is yes fees must be paid but don’t disadvantage the child. Remember one school which chased students in the middle of the night, it was not as if they had not paid most had paid abot 75% of the fees with promisory notes, serious raising 500 usd at once is a bit which the school should appreciate. That parent is willing to pay. On teachers I have heard of a Nyadire Geography teacher who actually told students that notes will be on the board it is up to them to write and study them, no teaching but ‘my salary will come’ minus the incentive I was used to. So no incentive no teaching. At least this teacher was open to the kids but others are actually giving students assignments with worked answers. You will be surprised come exam time your child fails yet he was totalling and getting stars, what must Dokora be asked how does he intend to curb that. I know teachers are holding us at ransom even us who are prepared to pay them the incentives but we are now asking the Ministry what it is doing about such teachers because it is not the parent’s problem but a ministry policy?

    • No @maita. I understand that Chiefs are charging at least $40 (madavira) to hear the case of parents. Headmen charge their own “court fee”. Its now a free-for-all. Now the parent WILL pay these fees – otherwise he will pay a cow. So the parent would withdraw the child from school – so who wins Mr Dofora?? nobody.
      The rural schools are now more notorious than urban schools because of chiefs and headmen

  11. This is one Minister who has no plan. Instead of picking up the thread of meaningful development efforts set by Coltart, he is behaving like a newly appointed rural headmaster bent on being “felt” by his subordinates. All he has done so far is make life tough for teachers. I was in Thsolothso recently and visited a primary school that has two teachers only. They do their best to deal with the school pupils all the way to Grade 7, but they are obviously overwhelmed and ineffective. There are no books at the school and pupils spend time playing all over the school. No meaningful learning goes on there.

    Now, we hear rumours of this same Minister ordering impromptu visits and observations of teachers working at efficient, effective and well-run private schools in Harare. They make ridiculous recommendations: that teachers should make charts for their classrooms! Really Minister? In this information age? We have advanced far beyond charts! These schools have some of the best Cambridge results in Zimbabwe and obviously don’t need the interference of these ministry officials. I am sure the resources being wasted here could do a much better job in remote schools. What has Dokora done about schools in resettlement areas? His intervention is required there, not at privately run and successful schools.

    What is Dokora’ s vision for our education system?

    • No other Education Minister has misfired more than Dokora. Everyday what we read about his official duties are disaster after disastrous proclamations.The education sector would be better off on auto pilot than having this guy at the helm.

  12. the scrapping of incentives for underpaid teachers from proactive parents & preventing their chn from getting extra tuition where necessary, shows Dokora(dofo)’s extreme ignorance about the education system

  13. Lazarus Dofora isn’t upto date with his ministry that is why he is surprised that parents in rural areas are being summoned to the chiefs.im speaking from what I saw happening last week in Mhondoro-Ngezi and its on going.parents who are owingin fees were hauled before chief Benhura among others.so if this Dofora is upto date,who then imposed this nonsense?parents are suppose to approach school heads for payment plans.

  14. I’m a parent with a grade 7 pupil & I was shocked to hear that this so called minister scraped teachers’ incentives taking us back to 2008 & beyond where teachers were demotivated because of their meager salaries, right now I expect my son to benefit from vacation lessons, the minister scraped them as well, so Mr Dokora where are we heading to? Do you have our children at heart? Right now you saying parents must pay fees yet we know we won’t be receiving a better service? It’s very unfair, please make our teachers happy, that way we will be guaranteed of a better future for our children, after all we proposed to pay the teachers incentives after they had started migrating to neighbouring countries in search of greener pastures. Please note that you taking us back when we thought we were moving forward. Try to implement strategies that helps our education system not the opposite.

  15. These government officials must stop these populist proclamations about children not being sent home for non payment of fees.What wisdom is there or rights are you protecting when u send children to a school that is non-functional due to lack of materials that make it possible for them to benefit because parents are not paying fees to aid the process. Instead of trying to play the good Samaritan policies must be made to make the economy work so that people will be able to make out a living and look after the interests of their families .In the meantime these officials are paying for the education if their children in expensive schools while telling the rest to kill the future of their children.Sort out the economy and allow people to give a future to their kids.

  16. isu chedu kungoverenga muromo chinyarara meso anooona..tongomirawo kuona kunowira tvsimbo nedohwe nekuti taimbofunga kuti kugara nhaka huoona dzevamwe zvino chakatanga chinenge charamba kuchenjedza apo nyoka huri ikati haizvirumi ah hameno

  17. So teachers are essential only when they lead drum majorittes singing praises to a minister hell-bent on humiliating and dehumanizing them .Well managed non government schools those that take care of teachers are now targeted and doomed so that their pass rates go down.So our children are being sacrificed just because we are poor.

  18. last time i checked extra lessons were banned because CHILDREN HAVE A RIGHT TO PLAY .
    Begs the question, does the not so honorable minister realise that with the current crop of school going children they are actually safer in the classroom than anywhere else ?

  19. The minister is capable of destroying the educ sector. Despite the long time that he has seen in the educ sector, he has learnt very little. The mouthings he has made since the 31July elections and his subsequent appointment as a full minister, are dangerous, ill conceived and detrimental to the development of an educ system for the 21st century. Pardon him, his incapability needs God’s grace. Tongoona tiri kuno kuma sidelines.

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