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Doctor to repay council after failing degree

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A BULAWAYO City Council medical doctor who failed to complete a masters’ programme while being fully paid on study leave is now expected to refund the council more than $120 000.

CHIEF REPORTER

According to a confidential report seen by Southern Eye, the doctor was granted leave to study for a Master of Public Health with the University of Zimbabwe between January 2012 and December 2013. One of the conditions was that he should pass his studies and it was stipulated that failure would result in him repaying council.

“This is a full time course authorised in terms of Chapter 12, Clause 21 (9) of the council’s condition of service (where the course is initiated by the employer) He had signed a memorandum of agreement before he commenced his studies. Clause 3 of the memorandum of agreement states:

“The staff member agrees that should he fail to obtain the required qualification, he will refund the council after his return to duty, the full value of study leave paid to him. This payment is to be made over a period not exceeding the original bond period,” part of the confidential report reads.

According to the report, the doctor had used 502 of his working days for the studies. “The financial director’s salaries section had given a breakdown of the salary he earned during his studies.

“The total was $123 576,86 divided by 96 months equals $1 287,01. His monthly deductions would therefore be $1 287,01 per month,” the report reads.

The repayment would be spread over an eight-year period. The doctor wrote to council indicating that he could not write his final examination as he could not meet the deadline for submitting his dissertation. He apologised “for letting down everybody”.

“I would like to inform your office that I was not allowed to sit for the final examination of the above programme as I missed the deadline for submitting of the dissertation and consequently was deemed to have failed the same,” the doctor wrote.

“I faced social problems that required time, attention and at times money which left me with difficult choices between family and studies. The university offered me a chance to re-do the subject, but attached to the Matabeleland North provincial directorate for a period up to September 2014.

“This coupled with the financial obligations attendant thereto makes it difficult for me to take the offer as the sociofinancial problems are not yet over.”

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