ZANU-PF yesterday dismissed a story by NewsDay that 70 000 teachers fled the country due to political violence as alarmist statements meant to denigrate the education system. Speaking at a press conference held in Harare, the party's Secretary for Education Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said the statement was one of imperialist tactics to destabilise the country.
"It is with dismay that I read of the so-called research by Lloyd Pswarayi and Tony Reeler titled Research Advocacy on Fragility and Education in Zimbabwe, assessing the impact of violence on education," he said.
"This is a disgraceful imperialist tactic and funded piece of work meant to tarnish the forthcoming elections. Who are these two, Pswarayi and Reeler, they did not tell us how they got the 70 000.
"They did not state the study sample, how it was compiled and how large was the sample as required by research principles and methodology."
Dr Ndlovu said that during the time mentioned, teachers left the country due to economic meltdown caused by sanctions.
"During this time, teachers and other employees had to search for greener pastures because of economic hardships," he said.
"In 2010, Government through the Public Service Commission recalled all teachers who had left for re-employment with improved salaries.
"All schools are operational and fully staffed, 3 000 teachers are produced every year, yet this so-called research is silent about this."
Dr Ndlovu said 93 percent of secondary schools were operating, while 90 percent of primary schools were also working.
"Zimbabwe is rated number one in Africa in literacy, surely these researchers must have intellectual deficiency syndrome to equate Zimbabwe to Iraq, Palestine and Ivory Coast.
"Farm schools were not closed because of violence, most satellite schools moved from barns to new beautiful buildings with ablution facilities.
"These two are peddling lies to cause upheaval in the country and the research must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
"It is unfair for such statement to go unchallenged because we have come a long way to improve our education system."
Dr Ndlovu urged Zimbabweans to remain united as unity was important for peace, security and development of the county.
His call came just a week before the country celebrates Unity Day on December 22.
The historic Unity Accord was signed on December 22 1987 between Zanu PF and PF Zapu and Unity Day has been celebrated every year since then.
Dr Ndlovu said Zimbabwe was a peaceful country with stability.