EDUCATION authorities in Manicaland have tightened the screws by directing District Schools Inspectors (DSIs) to check the teachers’ attendance so that those playing truancy will not be paid.
Manicaland Provincial Education Director (PED), Mr Edward Shumba told The Manica Post on Wednesday that the “no-work no-pay principle” will be invoked on all who those who have been truant since the opening of schools.
Mr Shumba, who did not mince his words despite the teachers’ turnout having improved to 95 percent, argued that those who are still to report for duty are doing a disservice to pupils and their parents who are paying school fees through the nose.
It has also emerged that pupils turnout was 85 percent as nearly all schools in the province played hard ball and turned away those who had not paid school fees.
School authorities insisted on full payment of fees, arguing that their coffers were dry after the prolonged Covid-19-induced closure and urgently needed the money to buy teaching and learning materials as well as personal protecting equipment (PPEs) for teachers, ancillary staff and pupils.
“Schools have opened well for the second phase of non-exam classes. Attendance by both teachers and pupils has also improved. Those who turned up are conducting lessons. Things are quite normal throughout the province. However, we have a few teachers who have not turned up for various reasons, and we will verify their whereabouts by the end of the week because I have not been given valid reasons why they are not at work.
“The position is very clear— everybody has a legal right to embark on industrial action, but we also have a right as a ministry to ensure that learning is not disrupted. This is the second week of opening and if they are absent for 14 days, we will cease their salaries. Those who go beyond 30 days will be summarily discharged.
‘‘Those who are absent will be asked to explain where they have been upon their return. We will establish if the given reasons are valid. The days they have been absent will have to be explained and justified, otherwise they will be charged for absence from work,” said Mr Shumba.
“We can only take serious action where an individual was absent for more than 14 days. We will cease that individual’s salary. It can only be availed after a hearing. We call it the no-work, no-pay principle — that is how it operates. We need varied reasons for one’s absence from work because this has a bearing on pupils. We will execute this policy in a way that make those absconding from duty feel the pinch,” said Mr Shumba.
Some teachers in the province have not reported for duty, demanding stronger safety requirements and better salaries.
Meanwhile, Mr Shumba said there are no serious Covid-19 complications in schools, saying the situation at Kriste Mambo High School in Rusape where nine children tested positive was under control.
No reports of teachers who have contracted the virus in the same time frame have been reported.
Mr Shumba said learning was in full throttle at Kriste Mambo after all returning pupils were asked to present a negative Rapid Antigen Test certificate to gain entrance.
Most parents complied with the short notice medical requirement to control the spread of the disease.
“I have not received fresh reports of Covid-19 complications in schools in the province. Those who tested Covid-19 at Kriste Mambo were quarantined. Teaching is going on smoothly,” said Mr Shumba.