ANXIETY has gripped teachers and non-academic staff in public schools after they were ordered to re-submit their academic qualifications and curriculum vitaes (CVs) by Tuesday this week.
The exercise, which started just before the schools opened for the third and final term of 2016, is seen as part of government’s plan to restructure its 553 000 workforce, which is consuming 96,8 percent of State revenues.
Last week, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa disclosed that at least 25 000 civil servants will leave government employment to reduce employment cost to 60 percent next year.
The bulk of those targeted by the dreaded axe could be in the Education Ministry.
What is scaring teachers and non-academic staff in the ministry is that about 8 252 posts in the Ministry of Agriculture were abolished recently.
The redundancies, it is feared, could therefore be spreading to the Education Ministry as well.
A report titled: Wage Structure and Labour Costs in Zimbabwe: An Analysis of Flexibility, Competitiveness and Equity, conducted by the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe and commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development released in April this year found out that in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, schools are overstaffed by 5 588 teachers.
In a memorandum to all provincial education directors, the Education Ministry recalled all teachers from their second term holiday to resubmit their educational qualifications to their schools for submission to the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The commission has despatched forms to various ministries including schools across the country where members were requested to fill in their academic and professional qualifications, years they have spent in the service and current grade among other vital information.
A soft copy of the form, member’s CVs and copies of academic qualifications were to accompany the form titled: “Public Service Secretariat Staff and Contact Details: Annexure ‘A'”.
It was a hive of activity at some schools in Harare’s central business district as teachers ran around trying to get their papers in order so as to beat the September 12 deadline given to schools to submit the required information.
Teachers who opened up to this publication expressed dismay at the way the exercise was being conducted.
“We are supposed to submit CVs, resubmit our qualifications and identity documents as if we are hunting for jobs all over again. We do not get explanations as to why they need those things, but we are simply being pushed around,” said one disgruntled teacher.
“If things were normal, I would have left the profession a long time ago because the harassment is just too much; but I have no option because my source of livelihood is right here at the same time I don’t know whether I will still be in employment by year end. You can imagine how bad it is for us,” he added.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has described the move as unnecessary, saying there were so many government officials living lavish lifestyles using government money but whose qualifications have never been scrutinised.
“The filling of forms indicating personal details, children, next of kin, and academic qualifications is an unnecessary political exercise meant to sniff out real and imagined opposition teachers, who must be kept away from being recruited as polling officers in 2018,” said PTUZ president, Takafira Zhou.
“We have sought clarification from both the civil service commission and (the) Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education only to get conflicting verbal explanations with no official prepared to commit him or herself in writing. In essence, government has not only declared war on workers but has annulled the social contract and betrayed the trust workers had entrusted on them to try to ease their burden,” opined Zhou.
The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) has received reports about the intimidation of some of its membership by State security agents and ZANU-PF militia since the beginning of the third term.
RTUZ said about 57 teachers have appealed to the union either seeking protection or assistance with transfers.