Govt wants pupils to spy on teachers

A showdown is looming between teachers and the government after a memo was sent to schools saying that starting next month school children would assess the teaching methods of their teachers.
A fuming Raymond Majongwe from the main teaching union, the Progressive Teachers&#

8217; Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said a new circular titled “Termly teacher rating by pupils” was distributed to all provinces to tighten the screws on the already suffering teaching population.
Majongwe said this time the Ministry of Education had gone too far. “It is madness. Teachers will be assessed by their pupils in areas like punctuality, the standard of dress, attendance, whether they are being given adequate work, whether they are prepared for lessons, whether they are being given homework, whether they know the subject or not, whether teachers are able to explain new concept, whether they are providing a stimulating learning environment.”
It’s feared that more teachers, who are already smarting from poor salaries and politically motivated factors, will resign. It’s reported that some of the issues on which pupils from both primary and secondary schools would be assessing their teachers will include questions like, does the teacher teach any politics in class? Does the teacher talk about politics?
The outspoken leader said the teachers were again being subjected to torture. “If the government said: let’s get our citizens to assess our ministers, I am sure the whole ministry of education would lose their jobs.”
This latest edict about teachers will ultimately create a culture where students – who have no training to assess their superiors – will be reporting about what a teacher does or does not do. The PTUZ warned it would not allow this to happen and would take the government to court.
This kind of system was made famous by Chairman Mao and Adolph Hitler who both used children to report any deviance from official policy. Majongwe said there was no law in Zimbabwe that allowed this. “Statutory 1 (of the education act) of 2000 does not allow for such things to happen. These are things founded on threats and intimidation.”
But he said the government did not have the capacity to implement the scheme. “It does not even have the money to print the forms to be distributed to all the schools,” he said.
If the government goes ahead with this plan it’s also feared that it will bring animosity between teachers and their pupils and ultimately the children will suffer.
Majongwe warned that the time for action had come. “Citizens of this country must decide. If they just sit down and just cry and not do anything with their feet, then they deserve the leadership they have.”
The PTUZ General Secretary also called on the civic and political leaders to lead from the front. “We have gone beyond talking… we have been talking about leadership and there is no leadership. We have been talking about change. The change doesn’t come. People must start to walk the talk!”

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