HARARE – Primary and Secondary Education minister, Cain Mathema had a torrid time during the post Cabinet briefing as he struggled to answer questions thrown at him by journalists concerning the readiness of schools to reopen and government’s position on the teachers who have not reported for duty after declaring incapacitation.
The minister had ten of the eleven questions asked during the question and answer session directed towards him.
Mathema struggled to respond to the questions instead diverting and giving long incoherent policy issues on education.
*You can read the questions and each response given by Mathema during the session.
Xolani Ncube: Wanted to know whether the schools had been provided with the PPEs that the Government had promised to provide.
Minister Mathema: In his response could not say whether the schools had been offered the PPEs or not but chose to say the Government working with NAPHAM will work out something.
“All schools should receive PPEs not only for learners but also for ancillary staff. In any case the schools have been making these PPEs”, said the ill-prepared minister.
Blessed Mhlanga: Schools are literally closed because there are no teachers. What is your comment Minister?
Minister Mathema: I understand there are teachers who have decided not to go back to schools. I don’t know their complaint. I hear it’s about the unavailability of PPEs. Really? That does not hold. I’m yet to receive a report on that. About their renumeration, the Government is doing something
Costa Gwametima: The Gvt has written off term 2 school fees. Where will the schools get funding to pay for other services like electricity, water, ancillary staff salaries.
Minister Mathema: (biting his lips and getting agitated) Hmmmm, I want to believe the Gvt will do something
Costa Gwametima: What is the percentage of turn up of teachers? Are there any COVID-19 positive case at schools?
Minister Mathema: I did not receive that information. As a journalist maybe you have gathered that information.
Kudzai Madzire: What is the mechanism the Government will employ for schools without water?
Minister Mathema: Such schools should not open as prescribed by WHO guidelines. The government will however drill boreholes at such schools or provide bowsers.
Kudzai Madzire: but in June you said you had started drilling boreholes at such schools?
Minister Mathema: Zinwa is doing that but I dont know how many have been drilled so far.
Ephat Musekiwa: I have seen a calender with a ministry stamp, does this mean the schools are closing on 18 December”
Minister Mathema: We are definitely closing like an normal term… we did not create COVID-19…Learners are proceeding to the next grades next year, remember some parents have been offering private tutorials to their children.
Kudzai Madzire: What happened to the promised $600m allocated by the Gvt for schools to combat COVID-19.
Minister Mathema: We have used part of it to drill boreholes.
Costa Gwametima: In absence of of teachers, who will monitor learners to observe social distancing?
Minister Mathema: It’s not every learner who is going back to school. It’s only writing classes only.
Kudzai Madzire: What is the Gvt doing to ensure that the teachers go back to schools.