CHIREDZI – The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has stamped its authority and said it recognises the board led by Zebed Togarepi in the Mashoko Christian Schools dispute.
The Togarepi group is at logger-heads with another group led by Pastor Edwin Magwidi which is claiming to be the legitimate authority over the 27 church schools.
Last year the Ministry sided with Magwidi but has since changed its position and now endorses the board led by Togarepi.
Some of the prominent schools under the Church are Dewure High, Mashoko Mission, Matara, Chiromo, Chizondo, Chiredzi and Masvingo Christian Colleges.
Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Sylivia Utete-Masango confirmed the development. She said the Ministry is reversing its earlier position to work with a new schools' board as it came clear to them that the issues are emanating from church fights.
She said the responsible authority led by Togarepi is the one which should continue running the schools and said the fights should not affect the learning and teaching in schools.
She said if the fights affect schools, the Ministry will not hesitate to withdraw its teachers and all its support since it is the one paying teachers` salaries.
"Our position as ministry is that the responsible authority which was there for the previous years should continue. That position came after we realised that there are church fights and those fights should not affect us. There is an earlier position but it is being changed and we urge the groups to sort out their mess away from the schools.
"We recognise that these are church schools and are the responsible authority and they should run their schools. However, if they want to run the schools without us we will remove our teachers. We need peace for the teaching and learning process" said Dr Utete-Masango.
Mashoko Christian Schools Board Chairperson Togarepi said the decision by the ministry was obvious since Pastor Magwidi and associates are no longer members of the Church of Christ. He said they are a splinter group which cannot claim ownership of the schools.
He also said they were walking into schools claiming to be the rightful responsible authority thereby disturbing schools` programs.