All teachers who did not report for duty when schools opened have been suspended with immediate effect for three months without pay, the Government said yesterday.
Reports indicated last night that around 13 000 qualified but unemployed teachers on the Public Service Commission waiting list are now on standby for engagement.
The suspended teachers did not report for duty this week claiming various reasons and will spend the next three months on the side-lines without salary pending investigations.
Schools returned to standard face-to-face classes on Monday and all teaching and non-teaching staff were scheduled to report for duty but others did not turn-up with some citing incapacitation.
In a statement yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Evelyn Ndlovu, announced the decision to suspend the teachers.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to inform the nation and its valued stakeholders that all officials within the ministry who absented themselves from duty since the official opening of schools on 7 February 2022 have been suspended without pay forthwith, for a period of three months.
“During this period of suspension, members are not to hinder or interfere with any investigation or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct,” said Dr Ndlovu.
A variety of penalties are at the Government’s disposal, including dismissal and warnings, once investigations have been concluded.
The Government has about 140 000 teachers under its employ and indications are that those who were not reporting for duty are few and can be replaced with available personnel if authorities decide to do so.
Dr Ndlovu said appropriate action would be taken against members who abrogate their duties and responsibilities.
She said the ministry remains committed to the provision of quality, affordable, accessible, relevant, equitable, inclusive and wholesome education for all Zimbabweans.
Following the temporary removal from service of the affected teachers, the PSC yesterday said there would be no crisis as there is around 13 000 qualified but unemployed teachers on its registers and are waiting for engagement and deployment.
The PSC said it was committed to employing all the qualified but jobless teachers, as has been done by
the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
A number of teachers’ unions yesterday said they were willing to engage authorities and resolve the matter amicably.
The Government has always kept communication lines open to address the concerns of employees through the National Joint Negotiation Committee but others usually choose to circumvent the engagement procedure.
Rural Teachers Union in Zimbabwe vice president Mr Lawrence Mashungu said authorities should call for an indaba to address the issue.
Zimbabwe National School Heads Union secretary general Mr Munyaradzi Majoni also talked of engagement.
“We want to sit and talk and come up with a proper way to address this issue,” he said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe said: “Every teacher has a right to be heard because circumstances differ and vary from one teacher to the next.”