THE Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) has condemned teachers who neglect their duty during the normal teaching time so that they could force students to enrol for paid extra lessons.
Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu told our sister paper NewsDay yesterday that teachers who were seeking money were “rogue elements” and not supposed to be in the teaching profession.
“Teachers are traditionally known to pride themselves in the success of their students and the reason they are poor is that they don’t do it for the money,” he said. “We condemn teachers who sabotage the teaching time.”
Ndlovu said the education authorities or school administrations could not interfere in extra lessons made as “private arrangements” involving a teacher, student and parent.
He said there was nothing wrong with assembling students at a boarding school during holiday time so that they could have specialised sessions led by examiners in a particular subject.
“A school may have one examiner, in Shona, with none in Mathematics. So they can bring in a Mathematics examiner to help their students during holiday time,” he said.
Ndlovu said it was important to have extra lessons for examination classes as they helped make up for lost time due to calendar congestion from extra–curricular activities.
Early this month, teachers vowed to defy a government directive banning holiday and extra lessons, arguing that extra lessons helped them make up the difference between their actual salaries and the poverty datum line.
This was after Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora accused school administrators and teachers of using additional lessons to fleece parents when 13 weeks in a term were adequate.
“Anyone caught doing the opposite risks being dismissed from the service. There is now little justification for one to apply for holiday lessons,” he said.
Secondary schools normally charge up to $5 per subject for holiday lessons, with extra lessons going for between $1 and $2 an hour paid directly to the teacher.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe, however, described the directive as insensitive.
“That is unacceptable because teachers are trying to be innovative. It is either they live up to their pledge of paying us salaries that are in line with the poverty datum line or we continue with the holiday and extra lessons,” he said.
Parents had welcomed the government directive outlawing holiday and extra lessons accusing schools of profiteering with others going to the extent of forcing all their learners to attend the extra lessons at a cost.