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School heads with zero pass rate should be punished, MPs

Members of Parliament want heads of schools recording zero percent pass rates to be demoted among other punitive measures that Government should impose.

The legislators noted that some better resourced schools are performing dismally compared to those that are struggling to get resources.

This came out yesterday when Permanent Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Mr Moses Mhike gave oral evidence on vehicle provision in the Ministry before Parliament’s portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education.

In his evidence, Mr Mhike said there was a serious shortage of vehicles for schools inspections and visits.

This absence of vehicles to supervise schools could be one of the factors why some schools were recording zero percent pass rates.

Committee chairperson Cde Ophias Murambiwa, who is Zaka North legislator, said there was need for authorities to impose penalties on school heads who performed dismally.

“You should do something against heads who record zero percent pass rate, either they should be demoted. That should come to an end. The Government is trying its best to provide resources.

“I have seen better resourced schools recording zero percent while those with little resources doing well,” said Cde Murambiwa.

He was aware of a school that has always been performing well over the years, but has suddenly slumped.

“Nothing has changed. The same head, same deputy, same teachers, same resources, but it was number 84 out 92 when it used to be one of the best,” said Cde Murambiwa.

Other legislators echoed the same sentiments saying school heads were relaxing, abdicating their supervisory role to the detriment of good education quality.

Cde Murambiwa also criticised hiring of vehicles by the Ministry for their chief directors. There was need for sustainable plan the Ministry should use rather than hiring vehicle.

This was after Mr Mhike had said they were spending about US$100 000 a month for their chief directors both in Harare and in provinces.

Chief directors were entitled to personally-issued vehicles and drawing them from the pool would compromise service delivery hence the decision to hire vehicles for them.

He said the Ministry was plagued with shortage of vehicles.

“The Ministry currently has a fleet of 248 vehicles with 155 runners and 93 non runners. The Ministry is faced with a heavily depleted and aging fleet that has resulted in constant breakdowns.

“This has led to very high repair costs and now a liability than an asset resulting in limited mobility leading to inadequate inspection and supervision of schools,” he said.

“Several schools have not been supervised, inspected or audited for several years due to difficult terrain and inadequate vehicle supply across levels, thereby militating against the Ministry’s key and core priorities.

“The Ministry continues to suffer the advent of low pupil performances as evidenced by the increased attainment of the zero percent pass rate, cases of indiscipline and bullying and cases of financial maladministration as evidenced in audit reports.”

He said disciplinary hearings are taking long to complete owing to transport challenges to travel and investigate cases as well as conducting hearings. Herald

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