Teachers question TPC source of funding

Artuz members picket outside New Government Complex, where Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s offices are housed, yesterday


THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) has welcomed the proposed Teachers Professional Council (TPC), but questioned how the body would be funded and operationalised.

The establishment of the TPC will, among others, see teachers applying for registration and being issued with a practicing certificate.

Artuz, however, noted that some of the functions of the TPC were open to legal challenge.

“There is, therefore, (in disciplinary cases) a real risk of lack of independence and genuine self-regulation on the part of the TPC as long as the Civil Service Commission (CSC)remains the employer. The commission may not ascribe the disciplinary role fully to the TPC,” the Artuz noted in its submissions.

“It may want to be involved thus rendering the TPC subservient to the commission. There is no such problem in the legal profession for instance since lawyers are truly independent and are not employed by the State or other employer.”

Artuz argued that some of the proposed changes to the profession under the TPC such as continuous professional development, funding, application of its code of conduct and membership of all teachers to the TPC, deregistration of a member on their employment status with the CSC, among others, posed legal questions.

Since it consists of members in government institutions and those in non-governmental institutions, the latter may not be willing to fund a TPC which is subservient to the CSC which commission is not their employer.

“The non-governmental employers may also not be willing to lose the right to discipline or otherwise regulate the conduct of their employees. Employers may not accept a situation where a TPC subservient to the government would have power to influence how their employees render their services,” Artuz said.

“There is need for the ministry to really deal with the legal questions raised by the members of the profession during the outreach meetings before the TPC can be put in place.
However, proceeding without applying the mind to the legal challenges around the implementation of the TPC may delay the implementation due to legal challenge in court. The TPC may actually be legally impossible to establish if pertinent legal questions are not addressed,” it added.