Teachers, students raped, killed Parly told

NewsDay, June 11, 2012

Parliament has been advised to formulate a statutory instrument that bars the setting up of political campaign bases at schools and the abuse of teachers during election campaigns.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture told Parliament last week political disturbances had seriously affected teachers and pupils performance.

According to the committee, in the run-up to the June 2008 election, teachers and pupils were sometimes raped, killed, tortured and forced to contribute food towards groups of political activists camped at their schools.

It also noted that teachers were at times forced to donate towards national events such as commemorations of the Heroes and Independence days.

In Mutasa district (Manicaland), participants highlighted that teachers were being forced to contribute towards the Governors Trophy which is an individual initiative, the committee said in a report to Parliament.

The committee chaired by Gokwe MP Dorothy Mangami (Zanu PF), produced the report after carrying interviews at several schools throughout the country.

Violence during the national election period was cited as one of the major challenges in the education sector that brought untold suffering to both teachers and students and at the same time crippling the education sector, the report reads.

The participants claimed that during the 2008 elections politicians held political activities at schools which they used for elections and campaign purposes and teachers highlighted that during those elections they were abused by politicians who forced them to attend rallies accompanied by students and this affected or compromised the education system.

Teachers claimed that some were killed, raped, victimised and tortured in front of students by politicians for supporting political parties of their choice. 

Participants indicated that there was need to create a teaching without fear environment to complement the learning without fear principle.