Government speaks on paying teachers' salaries during school holidays

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Government will monitor the performance of each individual teacher as part of measures to supervise schools and ensure delivery of quality education, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora has said.

He said this was part of government's broad policy measures to reform the education sector and ensure it meets demands of the current era. Dr Dokora made the remarks last week while addressing heads of more than 10 schools and provincial directors from Mashonaland East at Chishawasha Mission Primary School.

"The supervision instrument was last reviewed in 1983 and now government wants to review it by following up on the performance of individual schools, teachers' profiles and headmasters. This is a continuous assessment that will be done to ensure that that expected standards of education are met," Dr Dokora said.

He said the assessment system would be computerised and would have a central data base at the ministry's headquarters.

"When a child fails we can be able to trace and see what went wrong. How did he fail the exams?" he said.

The minister revealed that it will soon be mandatory for all government schools to go on a trip to at least one historic site each term.

"So government will ensure that each school gets a bus at cost price from our Chinese colleagues and every term you have to go on a trip. It's not optional, every school has to visit a historical site," he said.

Dr Dokora said the schools would pay for the buses within five years.

He dismissed reports that government would not pay school teachers salaries during school holidays and clarified the issues of holiday lessons saying that the issues had been misconstrued.

Dr Dokora said teachers were using holiday lessons as an excuse to fleece parents.

He said schools with special circumstances were allowed to conduct holiday lessons to cover for lost time during the term.

"Teachers saying their salaries are not sufficient. So it was not about school. They were using this to settle their scores with their employer. This is unacceptable. We cannot use children this way," he said.

The minister outlined the weaknesses of the current education system saying it was academic and elitist and fails to prepare learners to be creators of wealth or respond to the labour market.

He challenged schools to be productive and generate own funds.

Dr Dokora said government was also working on strategies to infuse ICTs, vocational and technical training with the current education curriculum.

Meanwhile the ministry has flighted adverts in the media saying that schools needed to apply for permission to hold holiday lessons for classes that are sitting for public exams in the third term.


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