Harare — The ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, which last month engaged relief teachers, some of them graduates of the Border Gezi training centre to invigilate 'O' and 'A' level examinations, has rehired suspended teachers on a contract basis to ensure that examinations are properly conducted, it emerged this week.
Over 600 teachers who heeded the strike call of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) were issued with suspension letters prohibiting them from leaving Zimbabwe without the authority of the ministry.
Education Permanent Secretary, Dr Thompson Tsodzo, had earlier said they had been fired.
Government proceeded to hire relief teachers, some of them militias from the Border Gezi institute, who were charged with invigilating examinations already in progress.
This move created problems since most of the relief teachers were ignorant of examination procedures and led to the ministry recalling the suspended teachers.
PTUZ national co-ordinator, Innocent Sibanda, confirmed to The Standard that the teachers had indeed been lured back to work and had been made to sign "dubious agreements" which did not address their grievances.
"The ministry capitalised on the desperation of teachers and hoodwinked them into signing agreements so that they would return to work," Sibanda said.
"I am, however, not privy to the contents of the contracts since they were signed in an individual capacity with the ministry retaining copies. It is surprising, though, that the teachers who returned to work did not get their November salaries just like those who snubbed the call," he said.
"We have a record of 38 teachers at Mufakose High 2 and three at Lord Malvern, plus others at Dzivarasekwa High 1 and Churchill who returned to work but did not get their salaries this week," he said.
In the suspension letters issued from 24 October, the ministry served notice of its intention to terminate the remuneration and allowances of affected teachers.
The letters also barred teachers from leaving the country without the authority of the ministry.
"You may not leave Zimbabwe without the authority of the head of ministry and shall inform the disciplinary authority of any change of address," the letters said.