Teachers unions wrap ‘reckless’ minister

Amon Murwira

TEACHERS’ unions are demanding the dismissal of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development minister Amon Murwira for calling on the new graduates to open own schools to cater for the estimated 4 000 schools deficit in the country.

The unions said the remarks were reckless since government in constitutionally mandated to provide education facilities for its citizens and not delegate that responsibility to private investors.

Addressing a graduation ceremony at the United College of Education (UCE) in Bulawayo recently, Murwira stated that graduate teachers should open private schools to cover the over 4 000 deficit in the country.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure said the availability of quality public education was a fundamental right whose provision fell squarely on the State.

“Private educational institutions were never designed to take the responsibility to provide education from the State. If anything, the duty of the State becomes more pronounced as it must directly supervise these schools to ensure the education offered meets the quality necessary for national development. In addition, regional and international conventions and instruments are clear on the duty of the State in providing accessible quality education for all,” Masaraure said.

“Only ruling party, the elite can afford to create these private schools. Murwira's sentiments were meant to legitimise the proliferation of private schools owned by the ruling elites. Teachers are being exploited in such schools and we hope the graduate teachers understand that they are being lured to private schools to be exploited.”

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou added: “The issue of building institutions of learning is a government issue. Murwira must accept that the State has failed. If the State has failed, it is better to look for investors who could possibly build schools.”

Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Tapedza Zhou said: “The government has an obligation to provide quality education through a regulatory framework that includes policy formulation and implementation and a sound monitoring and supervisoryrole that effectively checks the quality of education.”

Efforts to get a comment from Murwira were fruitless yesterday as he was not picking calls.

Meanwhile, government has reinstated some of the teachers that were suspended for absenteeism.

This has resulted in union leaders such as Tafadzwa Munodawafa being reinstated after a 22-month impasse.

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