Everything’s under control: Dokora

Wendy Nyakurerwa Assistant Editor
Part of the US$1,2 billion paid annually by parents as school levies is being used to implement Phase 2 of the updated curriculum, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora has said. There have been concerns that education sector reforms might be too ambitious considering the funds required for implementation.
Dr Dokora told The Sunday Mail that it was necessary to invest in education.
“This generation that we are now teaching will become an empowered one. Parents pay money for their children to have good education. All the programmes we are introducing are good for our country, our people,” he said.
“So do I have to wait until all the teachers have become literate in ICT? When you say there are too many changes, we are enabling, creating an enabling environment.
“They (parents) contribute US$1,2 billion every year. That is the money that goes directly into the hands of SDCs (School Development Committees). Teachers are paid the tune of US$900 million, that brings the money in the education sector to US$2,1 billion. I then top up with what I get from education partners. With these kinds of figures we can do anything so nothing should stop us from implementing our programmes.”
The minister also spoke about the need to guard these funds to avoid pilferage.
“This is why we are sending auditors because every dollar should be accounted for. Even if you collect US$200 at your school, we should know how that money has been used. Every school should expect to be audited, audits are a permanent feature. Nobody is clean as far as these finances are concerned.”
Last year, Government ordered an audit of schools after it emerged that several institutions had been running on unaudited books for 20 years, exposing levies to abuse.
Several malpractices were unearthed.
“We have dismissed a number of school heads and some senior teachers who were acting heads at satellite schools. The last report I got was that nine heads had been dismissed last year.
“Others are still at various stages of being taken through the hearings. They get proper hearings, they defend themselves and then the ministry makes a determination and recommends to the employer a separation or some kind of sanction.
“But it’s not just my school heads who get involved in these things, even the SDCs and it’s criminal law that takes precedence there. They do things that are non-procedural, siphoning money from the schools, trying to purchase buses through underhand dealings and so on,” Dr Dokora said.
Turning to Zimsec, the minister said the examinations body was moving towards zero breach of security.
“We are talking about a resilient system and I have cleaned up Zimsec. Have you heard of any breach of an examination security recently? We are continuing on that trajectory to get Zimsec to begin the journey to ISO certification.
“We are beginning the purchase of their equipment so that they can stork their new equipment at Norton which means from generating examination items, printing them, distributing them; it will be Zimsec and the ministry completely in control.”

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