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    Monday, 11 July 2016

    Bishi attack on heads and primary school teachers uncalled for

    This writer writes to strongly disagree with the sentiments and so called observations that Chikomo Bishi expressed in his article "The anatomy of corruption in schools", published in The Mirror of 1-7 July 2016.
    According to this writer, Bishi's attack on school administrators as perpetrators of corruption in schools after his so called x-ray examination of corruption in schools, so to speak, cannot go unchallenged. Most points raised are fallacious, misplaced and unfair attack on school administrators. The attack could otherwise stem from hatred, poignancy, jealousy, disillusionment or perhaps simple natural hatred of school heads that could be paralleled to Hitler's natural hatred of the Jews, on the following grounds:
    Firstly, not all school heads can be as bad as the learned writer has portrayed them. Anyone endowed with elementary thinking can see that Zimbabwe would not be where it is now in terms of literacy levels.
    The writer's strange belief that Ministry of Education requirements are that, senior officers on the job or alternatively at the station be given some position of responsibility meant to harness their experience and also as a token of recognition for long service and loyalty to the employer is erroneous and non-existent.
    If one may ask – in which education circular is this proposition found? Or it is more common sense that exists in the writer's mind or in the deep sands of oblivion. Much is considered before one is entrusted with a position of responsibility, for example, merit, integrity, dependability, deportment, loyalty , only to name a few.
    To believe that all long serving and experienced (though highly qualified academically or professionally) teachers should be given positions of responsibility automatically, is only a dangerous belief, but archaic , narrow-minded, flippant and shallow.
    Can it be taken for granted that all experienced senior officers have been loyal to their employer as portrayed in Bishi's article? This is quite absurd, strange and unheard of.
    Some primary-trained teachers have read and advanced themselves.
    This writer believes that such people are found at almost every level in the education system. And to believe that these people should be kept tied to lowly positions is quite archaic.
    The jargon and several references or quotations in the article suggest to me that this writer is widely read and educated to stick himself to such beliefs.
    There surely is no reason why a primary- trained teacher who has advanced himself/herself and now teaching in a Secondary school should not, like anyone also be given a position of responsibility if he/she has the right attributes.
    It should be noted that many officers who rose through the ranks up to the directorate may have started as primary-trained teachers. The writer alleges that, "in the schools there is a terrible lack of open communication," To imagine that this is the state of affairs in "the schools" is quite frightening and fallacious.
    Is the writer's allegation that in some schools resources are purchased by school heads that "…inflate the prices and pocket the difference, myth or reality? Bad as it sounds one feels the one with such knowledge and evidence of financial mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds should surely alert the powers that be, instead of allowing a rotten practice to perpetrate, grow like a cancer and even spoil all others.
    The writer also laments grimly about transport and subsistence allowances possibly for school administrators who run errands (schools) but suggests no practical panacea. It is not justified to make I and S claims after running genuine school errands? Can only national mind suggest from which fund one could use to do school business.
    After all, all payments done at school should be sanctioned by the finance committee meeting. \
    This writer advises the author of the referenced article to cascade this information to the Lltopian School described in his article.
    The article also alleges that "Some of those so-called heads 'meetings may be talk shows that may not benefit the child."
    The Englishman regularly quoted in the "classical" article also has it that a candle lights another candle.
    Even Proverbs 27 v 17 concurs that as iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
    By implication school administrators get more enlightened through regular interaction and engagement with fellow colleagues, their supervisors or school inspectors. They should not be tethered to the school environment every time.
    There is surely nothing bad in using school resources to empower  school administrators  with necessary knowledge and skills that in turn benefit students and staff members just as good as the same resources  should be used to send teachers for workshops that are meant to empower them with requisite knowledge and skills.
    The article also alleges that during sporting competitions there is age cheating through use of falsified documents, or situations where some pupils compete using other younger pupils 'documents.
    This surely should be the concern of sports directors not headmasters! The corrupt mania' here is the sports director.
    There is also an unfortunate attack on National Conference for heads of schools which Bishi's article describes or views as talk shows that benefit learners little or nothing and considers more of a disadvantage to the economy than an advantage. It is quite unfortunate that this is the thinking by some members.
    It should be noted that school heads are implementers  of Government policies and National Conferences provide  a sustainable  platform where senior policy makers like the permanent Secretary and the Minister and school heads  are in a face to face engagement and school concerns are presented, correct responses are provided which are taken back to schools.
    At one such conference held in Victoria Falls in 2015, the writer of this article learnt from Education Secretary that there is a School in Matebeleland (Madhlambuzi High) that offers driving as one of its practical subjects to its senior students, who leave school with driving licences. And thinking that such exchange of ideas and knowledge is a 'talk show' to me is flippant and shallow.
    It should be noted that this article is far from being a response in defence of the educational ills that bedevil some schools, but a mere eye-opener to an unfair attack on school administrators by a misinformed author with archaic ideas who see them as 'corrupt maniacs' at a time when the whole world applauds Zimbabwe for being one of the most successful nations in terms of raising literacy rates to unprecedented levels.
    One would advise the author of the article 'The anatomy of corruption in schools 'to do a lot of practical research before rushing to his 'learned' desk  and paint every school administrator with the same brunch.education news
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