PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday called on teachers’ unions and political parties to depoliticise education and the learning environment so that children could freely learn in a conducive set-up.
Mugabe made the remarks when he officially launched the $3 million Capacity Development Programme jointly sponsored by Unicef and government.
“Let me take this opportunity to tell teachers’ unions here present that we should depoliticise learning. Even to political parties – Zanu PF, MDC and other smaller parties — that there are areas we should agree we should work together. We all have children,” Mugabe said.
His comments come as schools have, since the 2000s, been used for political meetings especially during election campaign periods.
“This new programme will create opportunities for teachers to upgrade themselves. Those who have certificates should move on to diplomas, those with diplomas should attain degrees, those with Bachelors’ degrees should get Masters degrees and also a few will be assisted to get doctorates (PhDs) in research areas identified by the two ministries,” he said.
Mugabe also took the opportunity to inform teachers that the government was aware of their economic plight and was working to address the issue so that they could concentrate on delivering quality education to children.
“We should give them more wages. Teachers should be in situations where they don’t have to worry about caring for their families, food or even clothes. We have to make them comfortable both physically and mentally that they can research without worrying about these material things,” he said.
Earlier on, there was unease among the audience when Mugabe took to the podium to deliver his speech and realised that his prepared speech had some missing pages, forcing his aides to scurry around to find a duplicate copy of the speech.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa also did not escape Mugabe’s public censure on failing to raise enough revenue to fund government operations.
“When I said we should give $600 000 to this programme, I saw Chinamasa looking down, but he could not say no otherwise he would lose his job,” Mugabe said.