Monday, March 12, 2007

All Africa: Education

This African country is bickering over something as pettie as how its teachers wear thier hair while these countries are dead last in eduation. The problem is obviously not teh teachers but the adminitratiors whom allowed for standards to be loosened at all.


"6 Teachers, Headmaster in Dispute Over Dreadlocks

Source: All Africa 03/12/2007

Harare, Mar 12, 2007 (The Herald/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --
SIX teachers at Glen View High 1 School who wear dreadlocks are embroiled in a dispute with the head of the school over their locks.

The headmaster said teachers were role models who must be exemplary to pupils.
However, Rastafarianism has been recognised in Zimbabwean courts as a religion that has developed over the years to a dominant political ideology deeply rooted in Pan-Africanism and the class struggle.

In its modern form, it embraces the notion of "self-dignity and self-respect of the black majority" following years of slavery. It stresses the equality of all races.

But Glen View High 1 headmaster Mr Alois Maronga said wearing locks was "dirty" and had no place in Zimbabwean culture.

Mr Maronga last week told the teachers that if they failed to comply with his instruction they risked being sacked.

He made the remarks after the Public Service Commission had noted deterioration in standards of dress by civil servants and came up with a list of acceptable dressing.

The PSC issued a circular to all heads of ministries and departments, including headmasters, on the new standard of dress required.
In an interview, the teachers, who d
eclined to be named, said Mr Maronga convened a meeting after the PSC issued a circular on the new dress standards for civil servants.

The circular did not mention anything on hairstyles but the teachers said Mr Maronga and his deputy Mrs Chenai Magadzire insisted that the six teachers at the school shave off their dreadlocks.
Five of the teachers are women while and they wear the dreadlocks for different reasons.

Some believe in Rastafarianism while for others it is just a mere expression of fashion and style.
"They said we should shave the dreadlocks but we know that it was not part of the circular and we challenged them to show us where it was stated that dreadlocks were no longer allowed," one of the teachers said.

The teachers said Mr Maronga summoned them to his office one by one and threatened to charge each of them with misconduct if they failed to comply.

"He (Mr Maronga) told us that the Secretary of Education, Sport and Culture, Dr Steven Mahere, did not want dreadlocks and we should remove them without fail or would be charged with misconduct," another teacher said.

The teachers said they were making consultations and would challenge the move if the school head continued to pester them.

"This is a clear violation of our rights and we know of cases that have already set a precedent, so we will not be afraid of intimidation.

"But we honestly believe that wearing dreadlocks does not mean that you are a thug or a notorious character as most people would want to believe," another furious teacher said.
The teachers also said they had questioned Mr Maronga why he was being harsh against them when even some Members of Parliament wear dreadlocks.

In 2005 former MDC legislator for Highfield Mr Munyaradzi Gwisai was banned to practice as a lawyer for wearing dreadlocks.

He challenged the ban at the Supreme Court, saying that his constitutional rights of freedom of conscience and expression were being infringed and won the case.

The teachers also said the issue had created an unpleasant working environment for them as they were being viewed as outcasts at the school although wearing locks was a symbolic expression inspired by Rastafarianism and fashion.

Mr Maronga, however, said he had only conveyed a message from his principal, the PSC, which banned teachers from wearing revealing clothes and jeans and had only proffered advice to the teachers on their hairstyles.

"We only gave them advice to shave as Rastafarianism is not part of our culture. So it is now up to them to follow or not," Mr Maronga said.

He also dismissed allegations that he had ordered them to cut off their dreadlocks.
Mr Maronga said he had advised the teachers in line with the PSC staff development programme, whose aim is to restore a befitting image in public institutions following the deterioration of standards of dress.

The commission had noted with concern the deterioration and has directed that certain standards of dress be maintained by members during the course of their duties in order to uphold the dignity and formality expected of them.

In the case of women, the PSC banned the wearing of sleeveless tops, sleeveless dresses, strapped dresses or blouses, tops that have low necklines, jeans, see-through garments and mini-skirts.
Men must wear shirts with collar and tie and there is no objection to wearing of tailored safari suits with alternative dress being suits or sports jackets or blazers.
On formal occasions to which members are invited as representatives of their ministries, suits with collar and tie will be worn.

According to the PSC, exceptions are only at the discretion of heads of ministries or departments and normal dress can only be departed from when public servants are working in rural areas or when the duties require different considerations.

The PSC also advised men to always keep formal jackets in their offices in case they are called to meetings and other formal occasions unexpectedly.
Uniformed civil servants such as soldiers and police are also required to be in the fully prescribed uniforms.

A mixture of uniform and non-uniform items is unacceptable.
Both men and women are not expected to turn up for work wearing tennis shoes or tackies.

In the case of men, open sandals should only be worn for medical reasons and it is necessary for the respective heads of departments to request for medical certificates of affected members. "

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