The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has commenced disciplinary hearings for teachers and school heads who failed to report for duty when schools opened for the 2022 first term on 7 February citing incapacitation.
The Ministry has ordered all provincial education directors (PEDs) to charge teachers who had not reported for duty since the start of the term. Part of a circular sent to PEDs read:
Please take appropriate action against the members. This means that investigations should commence and where necessary misconduct charges be preferred against the members.
Provinces should conduct disciplinary actions as quickly as possible to avoid a situation where suspension orders lapse before the completion of disciplinary processes.
The circular further stated that the Zimbabwe National Association of School Heads (NASH) ignored the order by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela who had directed them to submit names of teachers who had not reported for duty.
Speaking in an interview with State media, Primary and Secondary Education Ministry’s communication and advocacy director Taungana Ndoro said the disciplinary action is aimed at bringing back sanity to the education sector. Said Ndoro:
This is the remedial action that we have always been talking about; that when an employee or worker conducts themselves in a certain manner the intention behind will be investigated.
So, we will be investigating members who did not report for duty and this will be on a case-by-case basis.
Every individual will have to state their individual circumstances as to why they were not on duty.
This is the procedure anywhere in the world where you become answerable individually on your own alleged cases of misconduct.
Obviously, if there are others who did not report for duty without good cause they may have to face some penalties. That is what the circular is actually saying.
Ndoro added that disciplinary action against absconding teachers will ensure that they will desist from such conduct in future. He said:
There might be those with valid reasons, they may be exonerated. And there are those who probably were just staying away and this is in the public domain.
We want to continue to provide quality education for our learners and also to reinstate public confidence for parents and stakeholders alike about our education delivery system.
Because if we do not take action, it is as if that may happen in subsequent terms without any action being done.
These actions are there to show that going forward we do not expect anyone not to report for duty for reasons that are not valid enough.