Teachers for Economic Development (TeachersforED), a grouping with ZANU PF links, has reportedly ordered school heads and inspectors to attend a two-day workshop beginning this Thursday, 06 October 2022.
The group was formed recently amid a mushrooming of groupings such as Pastors4ED and Mahwindi4ED that support President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2023 re-election bid.
Education sector union leaders told NewsDay that they were being forced to mobilise affiliates on behalf of TeachersforED and to fund the workshop scheduled for Marondera. Read in part a communiqué sent to school heads:
Cluster chair heads and the vice-chairs, National Association for Primary School Heads and National Association of Secondary School Heads executives are invited to attend a workshop from October 6 to 8 at Marondera High.
You are required to bring your own bedding, find own accommodation and provide your dinner. You are required to pay US$40 or its RTGS equivalent for lunch and teas. This is a workshop for Trs4ED training. It is in line with the above minutes. Please remain guided. Inspectors who have not undergone the Trs4ED training are to attend a workshop from October 6 to 8 at Marondera High.
The communiqué does not specify the training on offer, but school heads claimed that teachers were being forced to join the movement.
A school head who declined to be named for fear of victimisation told NewsDay that, “Authorities are pushing for mandatory affiliation to TeachersforED.”
The head said parents and guardians were against the use of school funds for non-school business, therefore, they can’t use school funds to fund trade unionism. Added the head:
There is confusion because it is like a parallel structure is running the school as we are taking orders from the leaders, who sometimes threaten us with dismissal if we refuse to be part to it.
Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro, however, claimed that the ministry was overwhelmed with inquiries from teachers and school heads keen to join TeachersforED.
He told NewsDay that those alleging that teachers were being forced to join the group are not happy with how fast the association is growing.
However, some union leaders said underhand intimidatory tactics were being employed to force educators to quit their unions and join the new association.
Zimbabwe National Teachers Union chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said this is a way of fleecing the same teachers who are struggling to survive.