Teachers4ED goes after school leaders

THERE is discontent within the education sector after school leaders and inspectors were ordered to attend a two-day workshop starting today by TeachersforED, a shadowy group suspected of links with Zanu-PF.

The TeachersforED (Economic Development) was formed recently amid a proliferation of groupings such as Pastors4ED and Mahwindi4ED supporting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2023 re-election bid.

Union leaders in the education sector told NewsDay they were forced not only to mobilize affiliates on behalf of TeachersforED, but also to fund the planned workshop in Marondera.

“Cluster chair heads and vice-chairs, executives of the National Association of Primary School Heads and the National Association of Secondary School Heads are invited to attend a workshop from October 6 to 8 at Marondera High,” read part of a statement sent to headteachers.

“You must bring your own bedding, find your own accommodation, and provide your dinner. You must pay $40 USD or its RTGS equivalent for lunch and teas. This is a workshop for Trs4ED training. It complies with the minutes above.. Please stay guided Inspectors who have not completed the Trs4ED training should attend a workshop October 6-8 at Marondera High.

The press release does not specify the training offered, but the heads of establishments affirmed that the teachers were forced to join the movement.

“Authorities are pushing for compulsory membership of TeachersforED,” said a school principal who declined to be named for fear of being victimized.

“This causes us problems with parents and guardians who object to the use of school funds for non-school activities. We cannot use school funds to fund trade unionism. there is confusion because it is as if a parallel structure is running the school as we take orders from the leaders, who sometimes threaten us with dismissal if we refuse to be part of it.”

One of the TeachersforED leaders, identified only as Matseketsa, declined to comment on the matter.

“I don’t want to comment on the matter over the phone,” Matseketsa said.

Mashonaland East deputy provincial coordinator Tapiwa Munozogara asked for questions in writing, but had not responded at press time.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, however, claimed that the ministry was inundated with requests from teachers and headteachers to join TeachersforED.

“We are getting massive inquiries from teachers and school leaders about how they can become affiliated with TeachersforED. The union is actually oversubscribed,” Ndoro told NewsDay, while rejecting claims that educators were forced to join the union.

“A number of school leaders are part of TeachersforED. The teachers’ union is growing, so false accusations are being peddled by malicious individuals who are unhappy with the speed at which the association is growing. develop,” he said.

However, union leaders said underhanded intimidation tactics were being used to force educators to leave their union and join the new association.

“It’s a way of scamming the same teachers who are struggling to survive because all those people invited are teachers regardless of their portfolio,” said Zimbabwe National Teachers Union chief executive Manuel Nyawo.

“The training workshop should not be about emptying our pockets in the name of empowerment. We are desperate to survive, but certainly not desperate to lose our small incomes.”

Munyaradzi Majoni, General Secretary of the Zimbabwe National Union of Head Teachers (Zinush), said: “Zinush believes that attendance at these workshops is voluntary and that members who choose to attend do so on their own thank you.

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