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Mathema chides journalists on schools crisis

by Staff reporter
29 Oct 2020 at 06:01hrs | Views
PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema yesterday chided journalists, accusing them of rushing to engage him before verifying reports that teachers were on strike.

In an interview on the sidelines of a strategic planning workshop by his ministry, Mathema said all was well in schools, denying reports that teachers were on strike.

Mathema took a swipe at journalists for constantly asking him about the crisis at schools.

"Why should the news media put me in a corner to prove I am wrong?" asked Mathema.

"The news media should contribute to the development of the country, they should be accountable. I receive calls from the media and one question they are asking is how many schools are open, my answer has always been that they should go and check and come back with a report that such and such a school is closed."

On the grievances raised by teachers and the strike, he said "the fact that schools are open and students are reporting to school daily is proof that they are not on strike."

"Teachers are at work now, it is a question of how many are at work and how many are not. Minister Mavima is definitely handling that issue professionally with the relevant teachers' representatives, but I want them back at work. All schools are open anyway which means there are teachers at schools," said Mathema.

Asked on the astronomical fee hikes, the Education minister said all responsible authorities in school know the procedure of increasing school fees.

"No school fees or levies should be increased without the permanent secretary approving and there is a procedure. Each school, each School, Development Committee, each board of any school, private or public, know that parents must sit down with the school authorities, at least 20% of the parents or guardians must be at a meeting where issues of increases of fees are discussed and the minutes of the meeting are given to the permanent secretary who then sits down with her team to approve or not to approve," he said.

"If there are schools or school heads that increased fees without me knowing, it is illegal we want to know these schools.

"On the other hand, I am asked a general question, 'fees are going up', meanwhile, not a single media organisation has come to me saying this school has increased fees extraordinarily high, but once there is any sign of misbehaviour, we will take measures against that school."

Schools reopened for the second phase on Monday but teachers unions have maintained that their members will not report for work until their grievances have been addressed.



Source - newsday

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