Govt circular irks teachers

Tumisang Thabela.

GOVERNMENT has ordered schools to return funds they had received for the payment of school fees for teachers’ children.

In April this year government pledged to pay, through the schools, fees for teacher’s children to cushion them from the high cost of living. Government then later reversed the decision, opting to pay through the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) direct into the teachers’ accounts.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe on Monday wrote to government asking why it had ordered schools to reimburse the funds through a circular dated September 29, 2022.

The circular was sent to school heads and other education authorities by Primary and Secondary Education ministry secretary Tumisang Thabela.

In a letter dated November 15, 2022, addressed to Thabela seen by NewsDay, Majongwe said: “In your secretary’s Circular Number 10/2022, dated 23 September 2022, you indicated that the Public Service Commission (PSC) had agreed that the school fees benefit for teaching families be paid on the Payroll Management System as it is a condition of service, which to us is fine. We are, however, disenchanted to note that you went on to direct those schools and provincial offices that had already been paid under the benefit to reimburse the government. We are not sure of the wisdom behind that directive, especially given that up to now; there has been no further movement in the enjoyment of that benefit, which was agreed to with the PSC in February 2022.”

Thabela was not answering her cellphone yesterday, while Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro had not responded to questions sent to him in writing.

But part of the circular that was sent to schools by Thabela read: “The PSC agreed that the school fees benefit for teaching families be paid on the Payroll Management System as it is a condition of service. To ensure a seamless migration to the Salary Service Bureau system, the provincial offices have to return the money deposited into their semi-official accounts to the ministry's accounts so that the payment can be done as directed. This is important to avoid duplication. For those provinces that effected payment through to schools, such funds from the said schools should be recalled.”

In the letter, Majongwe also questioned why government had agreed to pay fees for the first term only when it was already year-end.

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