SOUTH African trade unionist Nkosana Dolopi says youths and women can be “loose cannons” once they are neglected.
And Professional Teachers Union of Zambia general secretary Musenga Kangwa (picture above) says high ranking officials are behind examination leakages while teachers and pupils are just conduits.
Speaking at the 11th quadrennial congress of the Zambia National Union of Teachers, Dolopi, who is South Africa’s Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) deputy general secretary, said trade unions needed to be strong at branch levels.
“We are working to unite all unions in Zambia. If you unite, our voices will be strong. If you are strong, the minister will respect you, society will respect and appreciate you more. If you are united, you
will get high salaries,” said Dolopi.
“We have to strengthen our unions by establishing strong local structures…we need more programmes for the women and youths. If you don’t do that they might grow to be loose cannons.”
Meanwhile, Kangwa said there was a lot of confusion at the Ministry of General Education where a clique was causing trouble.
Kangwa said 2018 would go down as the most challenging year in the history of education.
“There were a lot of misplaced priorities in terms of procurement of furniture and books. As PETUZ we are expecting a complete mind change in the way we deal with the issues of education. I think 90 per cent of the budget allocation to education goes to emoluments and about 10 per cent goes to issues to do with improvement of the sector,” he said.
“The issue of leakages is sabotage. We have come to learn that the amount of examination leaks is too huge. We highly suspect that the culprits are being left out. It’s only when we arrest the situation and get to the leakages themselves can we have quality education,” Kangwa said. “The teachers and learners are just being used as conduit pipes. But there must be somebody who is certainly highly involved and we are not going to support those who are trying to shield senior education leaders who are involved. We want to see this issue come to an end.”
He said there was a clique, “a cartel in the Ministry of [General] Education which is throwing mud to the operations and we are appealing to the investigators to get close to those culprits.”
“We will not shield anyone found with leakages. We want to see these issues come to an end,” Kangwa said.
He advised officials in the ministry who have been
suspended from work to stay away.
Kangwa said teachers in 2019 want to see to it that procurement of furniture was done locally and that textbooks should be purchased from Zambia Education Publishing House.
“We have too many camps fighting in the Ministry of Education which we don’t expect as a union and we want to mop up the available resources to building schools, buying desks, and even compensating those that have not been adequately compensated,” said Kangwa.