Home » Governance » Allowances – Mbizvo Speaks Out

The following are excerpts of the response by the Permanent Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and Hexco chair Dr Washington Mbizvo to an article carried by The Herald on May 6, 2014 titled “Ministry pays out mega allowances”.

In the main the substance of the story was that:

I, Dr Washington Mbizvo, and a handful of Hexco members were paid outrageous and disproportionate allowances

This was done to the overall detriment of the members of College Lectures Association of Zimbabwe

That the conduct is corrupt, un- ashamed, and unethical, therefore below the conduct expected of a Permanent Secretary. Nothing is further from the truth.

The story was intended to create and did create the impression that I am a corrupt and unethical public official and that I have become unfit to continue as Permanent Secretary

In addition, the extravagance of the allegations has the effect of bringing the ministry and Hexco into disrepute

THE ALLEGATIONS

Dr Mbizvo was paid US$5 000 as responsibility allowance for the entire examination process, from registration of candidates, marking, external assessment, verification of results, pre-ratification whose period stretches for one complete year.

It must be understood that, the payment was not for a day or two days sitting only. This involves behind the scenes activities, invariably out of the normal duty.

In addition, the chairperson is paid US$400 for a maximum of two sittings.

The Hexco chair, who oversees and supervises the entire process, is paid only once after the results have been ratified by the Hexco board. This is a normal practice in other countries that include Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, to name but a few.

In fact, some SADC countries are learning from our system here in Zimbabwe.

Significantly it must be pointed out that the funds in question were budgeted for and approved by Treasury. In addition, the ministry books of accounts are regularly audited by the Auditor-General.

Click here to view Dr Mbizvo’s response . . .

Hexco administers examinations for an average student population of 37 000 across a wide range of courses totalling at least 1 260. The examination administration process is, as can be expected, not a three-day event as was suggested by the Colaz representative.

It is a process spanning a period of seven to 14 months covering all of Zimbabwe’s polytechnics, technical colleges, technical high schools and independent colleges registered with the ministry.

The ministry expended US$700 000 towards the administration of the examinations, which the author of the Colaz letter, Mr Madovi — a marketing lecturer at Mutare Polytechnic, the Colaz treasurer – was complaining of.

Had Mr Madovi taken the logical step of testing his facts through simple arithmetic before he lapsed into peddling falsehoods, extravagance and defamation he would have realised that the cost of administering examinations per student per subject is only US$1,89.

I therefore challenge him to provide empirical evidence from anywhere else in the world where examinations at similar levels are being administered at a lower cost.

Dr Mbizvo is the Hexco chair and not the chair of Standards Development and Quality Assurance Department since the latter is only a department in his ministry.

Therefore, the suggestion that Dr Mbizvo attended the meeting as chairperson of SDEQA is not correct and as a consequence, the further suggestion that Dr Mbizvo and the director of SDEQA both attended the meeting and therefore created a duplicate allowance of expense again is not correct.

These two attended the meeting in different capacities in terms of their specific roles.

The chairperson’s representative is the director of the Department of Standards Development and Quality Assurance under which Hexco falls.

PAYMENT OF CO-ORDINATORS

Principals and other supervisors of Hexco are paid only once per session in the 12 months they to produce results and certificates. In other countries, the role of Principals and Supervisors in Examinations is performed by hired consultants.

The officers were paid individually, on the basis of their roles and functions, in accordance with the stipulated rates set by the board in consultation with the Department of Quality Assurance and Standards. This is based on a comparative analysis with similar boards such as Zimsec and regional boards.

Funds totalling US$600 000 were drawn from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund for the whole exercise, which included marking, external assessment, verification, pre-ratification and ratification.

WHAT IS COLAZ?

COLAZ was formed in the early 1980s as a breakaway faction from Zimta by lecturers from teachers’ colleges (mainly Belvedere).

These disgruntled lecturers felt that their colleagues in Zimta were not articulating their grievances on remuneration packages well, because the majority of Zimta members came from primary schools.

They struggled with recognition until the creation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Technology when they eventually were registered.

Government, in 2004, through the intervention of the then Minister Dr Herbert Murerwa, mandated the Permanent Secretary, Dr Mbizvo, to recognise Colaz and allocate offices for them in the New Government Complex building. The Ministry further assisted Colaz with equipment and support staff.

In spite of all this, what has emerged in Colaz is that one or two of its members have decided to abuse the name of a collective to convey personal views.

The author of Colaz documents has always been Mr Madovi, a lecturer at Mutare Polytechnic for the past 20 years, with a mere HND qualification obtained at the same college and has never improved his qualifications ever since he joined the service. He is a disgruntled individual seeking to draw attention to himself.

Suffice to mention that the ministry does not have a policy of paying “appearance fees” of US$800 as Mr Madovi is suggesting. He clearly does not know what he is talking about and should therefore be forgiven.

During the job action in teachers’ colleges, Madovi moved from class to class to try to force lecturers to join him in his disruptive action. The lecturers refused and reported his illegal action to the principal.

He was charged for his lawlessness and ever since, it then appears he spends more time crafting distorted documents on anything that is against Government and Hexco.

He considers himself at par with the principal and all the supervisors above him and has the folly of thinking that the little he does is done by everybody.

His kind of agitation is desperation for undeserved recognition above his supervisors because he can never be where they are, due to his own academic shortcomings.

VALIDATION OF EXAMINATIONS

It must be noted that in identifying co-ordinators the board takes into consideration the level of expertise, qualifications, disciplinary record and seniority.

For all this work, the co-ordinators are paid only once per session. They work 12 months a year doing Hexco business and not 10 days as alleged by Madovi and company.

The fees given by Madovi are distorted.

The correct fees are US$2 000 for supervision of marking per session and US$1 900 for external assessment and supervision, depending on whether the principal himselfherself is a member of Hexco or not and again depending on hisher technical qualifications.

Markers’ reward system varies depending on the number of hours invested, number of questions being set, number of candidates being examined and the number of scripts, depending on specific rates on specific levels.

If a comparison was to be made with what Zimsec administrators are paid, it might be shocking to note that Hexco administrators are paid less than one-tenth of what their counterparts in Zimsec get.

For Madovi to suggest that each marker should be given what he calls US$800 “appearance fee” is beyond comprehension.

It is a lie to allege that they used to be paid this amount before. Madovi wants the money not for the job done, but for lecturers to take home a “reasonable fund”!

CONCLUSIONS

The nation should continue to have full confidence in Hexco with or without Dr Mbizvo.

What is curious in all this, is that, such issues always start to appear in newspapers, then create an agenda for investigation without prior internal processes of dialogues, discussions or structured meetings.

I am also mindful of the fact that these allowances and other related issues have not been queried at any time in history.

I must acknowledge that some Colaz members are highly professional with a high degree of commitment and have continued to exude superb workmanship during the most difficult period of 2006-2008 when the majority of technically qualified staff left for the Diaspora.

Source : The Herald

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