Fifty percent teaching staff in Bulawayo Metropolitan province has not been attending school as of Friday last week, a senior ministry official has revealed.
Speaking at the Bulawayo Metropolitan inter-ministerial Covid-19 taskforce meeting Tuesday, Deputy Education Director Thabani Sibanda said 68 percent of students have been attending school with the rest staying at home during the same period.
Sibanda said teachers have approached the ministry citing financial incapacitation.
“As of Friday (15-04-2021), we sampled 75 schools for teachers and learners’ attendance.
“The provincial teachers’ attendance as of Friday was 50 % while learners’ attendance was 68%.
“The provincial teachers’ attendance drastically dropped due to incapacitation notices forwarded to the schools, to the district and the province,” said Sibanda.
He was responding to Local Government Minister July Moyo who had pressed the education official to provide him with teachers’ attendance statistics in the province.
“We have information that some teachers are not attending lessons in Bulawayo. Can you please furnish me with the teachers attendance figures,” Moyo had asked.
The minister would however not take Sibanda’s response lightly, describing the teachers’ truancy as diabolical.
“Our children are now back in school and the teachers announce incapacitation; that means nobody is going to school essentially.
“Incapacitation of riding a bus which is subsidised by the government to go and teach a child in Bulawayo who is already behind in all their education system? I think its diabolic. It is not correct.
“You are incapacitated to go and teach a child in some cases even in the rural areas where you are staying at the school,” fumed Moyo.
The minister seemingly blamed teachers absenteeism on provincial education officials and school headmasters.
“Our pass rates are low and now we have the opportunity to recover and you have people who are saying incapacitation. 50 % go to school.
“You are the education managers, we are at the receiving end. You are the managers. You have headmasters,” said Moyo.
The minister said it was almost clear that teachers who decided to go to work in the province were not evening teaching.
“The other 50 % is not also teaching and we as parents, citizens and civil society leadership should be worried. We cannot be quiet about it. That is my appeal to the political leadership and all of us here.
“… What we are doing to our children,” Moyo said.
The minister singled out Masvingo as one province in which there was teaching.
“I know of provinces that are teaching. I think the highest attendance both children and teachers and actually teaching is in Masvingo where over 90 % yet another province like this one you have 50 %. Whose children are suffering? Whose children are being discriminated?”