|Discrimination exists in teacher transfers|
|Saturday, 16 June 2012 21:58|
Sunday News Reporter
IT is amazing how far a marriage certificate could take you, especially when you are a teacher.Teachers in rural areas who want to transfer to cities and towns need to get married first, as the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture is insisting they produce marriage certificates to prove that they are going to join their spou ses.
Several teachers have been failing to get transfers as the ministry’s policy is strict on teachers joining spouses.
The policy has hit hard teachers who prefer being single and one such victim is a teacher working in Zimuto communal lands in Masvingo, who has been trying hopelessly for the past 24 years to seek a transfer to come and work in Masvingo town.
“I have been in the teaching profession for the past 24 years and since then I have been hitting a brick wall when I tried to transfer to Masvingo as they wanted me to produce a marriage certificate,’’ said the teacher who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
She said when she applied to be transferred they told her that she could do so only if she was married and was moving to Masvingo to join her husband.
“I was told I could only move to Masvingo if I was going to join my husband and I had to produce a marriage certificate. Where do I get a husband from? Is it a crime in the teaching profession not to have a husband? These are the type of old and colonial policies that need to be changed,” she said.
To add on to this misery, the ministry demands that a person who is transferring should also produce a letter from her husband’s employer to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the husband is employed in Masvingo.
According to the woman, she was once told that she was due to be transferred back in 2007 but when she went to the ministry she was told that there was no letter to prove that she was due for transfer.
She was then pushed to the bottom of the waiting list.
“I have been pushed further down the waiting list and I have lost hope as it is. This has affected me psychologically. I am bitter that the ministry is discriminating against us unmarried people,” she sobbed.
The Provincial Education Director (PED) for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Mr Dan Moyo said that the Ministry of Education has strict policies on the issue of teachers transferring and that a marriage certificate was mandatory.
“We have strict policies on this issue and a marriage certificate is a must if a teacher is supposed to transfer and join a spouse,” said Mr Moyo
He said that teachers should first prove that one is married and they want to join a spouse then they can be considered. The availability of vacancies also determines if one can transfer.
“If there are no vacancies in the area they want to move to then it makes no sense to transfer the person,” the PED said.
He said the ministry also considered the subjects on offer as the ministry could not just transfer a person who was not teaching the relevant subjects.
He said there were very few vacancies for primary schools especially in Bulawayo.
“Bulawayo has a challenge of primary school vacancies since 2003. At the moment there are only 3 vacancies compared to 103 at secondary schools,” he said.
He said the challenge was that teachers did not make an effort to seek places in time but waited until the last minute. The ministry announces vacancies two weeks before schools close and newly qualified teachers are deployed in rural areas but after three years one is eligible for transfer.
He, however, said in some cases where a person was customarily married the ministry could assist if there were vacancies.