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'Teachers should not use school children to push their demands'





THE Government has warned teachers against abusing pupils to further personal agendas saying there are many lawful channels to air their grievances without involving the learners.

This follows last week's incident where a science teacher at Njube High School in Bulawayo, Mr Brian Mutsiba, allegedly mobilised and incited 153 Form One, Form Three and Form Six pupils to demonstrate against purported "fees increase and poor teachers" remunerations among others issues.

Mr Mutsiba has been on the run since last week's protests which, according to latest information, was stage managed.

Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister Edgar Moyo said it was inexcusable for teachers to sacrifice learners to advance their personal interests.

"Teachers should not use school children to push their demands. They have got their unions and they have so many channels through which they can air their views without involving pupils. It becomes very unfair to use pupils. They should not sacrifice learners to achieve their objectives. We expect professional conduct from our teachers and we expect them to follow the normal procedures of grievance resolutions that are provided for at law," he said.

Moyo said Government was closely following social media reports that schools in Bulawayo would stage a demonstration on Monday next week. He said he was convinced that some anti-Government elements wanted to use minors as a shield to cause anarchy in the city.

"I think it's now people who want to abuse the innocence of our children. I don't think it's our learners who are organising this thing. We are monitoring the situation. The message to school heads is that they have to keep a lookout for such conduct. We don't prevent teachers from airing their views but they should not use schoolchildren. To pupils, they should not let teachers use them to solve their problems as this will disturb their education, it will disturb their careers," said Moyo.

He urged parents to discourage their children from participating in illegal protests.  Meanwhile, Moyo said Mr Mutsiba is facing charges of mobilising children to partake in action outside the school's authority and that of their parents.

He said if Mr Mutsiba remains absent from work for two weeks without justified reason, his salary will be docked.

"In terms of Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000, if someone is absent from work for a continuous period of 14 days without good cause or without permission his salary is supposed to be stopped. And he would then be charged for absenteeism. If he still wants his job he should have come forward and explained what really happened but his absence is now compounding the narrative that he organised the demonstration which is outside his normal course of duty," Moyo said.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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