The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education says it recognises Teachers for Economic Development (Teachers4ED) as a trade union organisation.
The Ministry’s spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said teachers are therefore free to attend Teachers4ED meetings during working hours. He said:
As a Ministry, we recognise Teachers4ED as a union and as such members are allowed to participate in its activities as long as they undertake proper clearance procedures from their workstations.
Ndoro was responding to questions raised after several teachers and school heads attended a ZANU PF orientation meeting organised for ED affiliates on Wednesday when they were supposed to be in class.
The meeting was held in Masvingo.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Takavafira Zhou, however, disagreed with Ndoro’s assertion.
Zhou said all unions have a constitution and are registered with the Ministry of Labour.
He argued that Teachers4ED cannot be a union because it does not represent the interests of teachers. Said Zhou:
Teachers for ED is not a union. Unions are registered with the Ministry of Labour and remember this so-called union does not in any way stand for teachers’ plight.
Masvingo Provincial Education Director (PED), Shylette Mhike concurred with Ndoro, adding people should not confuse the ED acronym with “Emmerson Dambudzo”.
She said ED stands for Economic Development.
The meeting that the teachers attended was an orientation event which was superintended over by Masvingo ZANU PF political commissar, Brian Munyoro.
There were 24 other ED affiliates including Health Ambassadors for ED, Pastors for ED, Cross Border Traders for ED, Mahwindi for ED at the meeting.
A teacher who declined to be named told The Mirror that teachers who are not members of Teachers4ED were being left out of workshops, training programmes and other Government programmes that have monetary benefits. Said the teacher:
There is a lot of insecurity among teachers as a result of this association. Those who are not members of Teachers4ED are being sidelined in Government programmes.
The education system has been turned into a political landscape and it is those teachers with political instincts who will survive and this is a death blow to education.
The wife of Masvingo Minister of State, Ezra Chadzamira, Euphrasia who is a teacher at Gaths Mine Primary in Mashava, was among the teachers who attended the meeting in Masvingo. | The Mirror