TEACHERS who want to actively participate in politics ahead of the August 11th general elections should resign, General Education Minister Dr John Phiri has warned.
And Dr Phiri has directed all provincial education officers (PEOs) and their District Education Boards (DEBs) not to allow any political party to conduct rallies at primary and secondary schools for fear of damaging school property and disturbing pupils.
Addressing a press briefing at his office yesterday, Dr Phiri warned political party leaders and politicians in general to stay away from primary and secondary schools, teachers and leaners.
Dr Phiri, who is also Patriotic Front (PF) chairperson of the Patriotic Front Central Committee on education, appealed for calm and professionalism in the teaching fraternity especially in the period leading to August 11 general elections.
“If you are receiving messages from God that you must be a politician, kindly resign. For the reason is simple. The parents of the learners and indeed the leaners under you care and guidance do not favour one political persuasion. You must therefore choose to remain neutral and non-partisan.
“Stay away from active politics. Instead, concentrate on your core business which is to grow your professional status and offer leaners quality education,” Dr Phiri said.
He further urged all the provincial education officers and their District Education Board members and board secretaries to protect the interest of the education sector during the campaign period.
Dr Phiri said the interest of the child should be paramount as it had been in the past.
“Your leadership will be tested during this period but you must remain, as you have been, steadfast and perform to the best of your ability,” he said.
Dr Phiri reminded teachers that in order to sufficiently and effectively contribute to the exciting growth of the general education sector, they must strive to be professionally well grounded.
Meanwhile, Dr Phiri also took time to announce that this year political parties would not be allowed to conduct rallies in primary and secondary school grounds for fear of damaging school property and disturbing pupils. “They should desist from any activities which may destabilise the school calendar and the smooth running of the institutions. If damage is caused to the running of a school, it will be difficult for that school to recover the lost teaching/learning time. The school calendar is rigid. Lost time is not easy to regain,” Dr Phiri said.
Dr Phiri however, explained that unless a political party made a special arrangement with Provincial Education Officers and District Education Board in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Agencies to hold rallies over the weekend after serious consideration by the authorities.